COMSTOCK PARK, Mich. — The staff at LMCU Ballpark was decked out in red, white, and blue Friday night, just two days before the closing ceremonies of the Olympic games. But the biggest winners Friday weren't athletes competing in Tokyo. They were Special Olympic athletes from Michigan.
As part of Olympics Night, the West Michigan Whitecaps had Special Olympics athletes sing the national anthem and throw out the ceremonial first pitch.
"I'm most excited to see all the faces, the one-on-one contact with each other, being able to be out and be in a community where they care so much about us," said Special Olympics Michigan athlete Tyler Lawton.
The night also served as a chance for people to offer financial support for Special Olympics Michigan. The Whitecaps Community Foundation helped the organization with its 50-50 raffle, and Priority Health presented Special Olympics Michigan with a $5,000 check at the end of the sixth inning.
"We know how important having equity in athletic endeavors is to our community and we are proud to support those athletes," said Shannon Wilson with Priority Health.
"We want to show up in our communities in ways that our communities want us to show up. We're happy and honored to do so on behalf of West Michigan."
Lawton says he's grateful for the support Special Olympics received Friday night.
"It shows that they care about us athletes in Special Olympics," he said.
"Special Olympics means so much to me because it gives athletes like me an opportunity to showcase our talents and our abilities in a unique way."
Special Olympics Michigan just wrapped up its summer games in July. 300 athletes are scheduled to take part in softball, soccer, and golf at the fall games from September 24th through 26th.
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