Co-op volunteers help make Special Olympics memorable for thousands of athletes

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Aaron Criswell gets a
high-five from an athlete.

Volunteers from 18 Oklahoma electric co-ops came together in Stillwater May 16-18 to assist with the Special Olympics Summer Games. Five employees, one board trustee and one OEC Foundation, Inc. board member represented OEC among the 101 co-op volunteers in Stillwater.

Chief Meter Technician Joe Bartram, Apprentice Vegetation Management Aaron Criswell, Journeyman Power Lineman Chris Croslin, Member Services Associate Chyla Hall and Chief Financial Officer Preston O'Brien, along with district 5 trustee Danny Watters and OEC Foundation, Inc. (Operation Round Up®) board member Harlen Fipps joined over 100 other co-op employees from across the state. The co-op employees, family members and former Youth Tour participants assisted with track and field events.

More than 5,000 athletes from across the state participated in the Summer Games. During the three-day event, athletes competed in track and field, bocce, bowling, golf, horseshoes, powerlifting, basketball and softball.

"It was very inspiring and motivating to see the level of sheer determination and effort the athletes put into every event," said O'Brien. "No matter if an athlete came in first or last place, each athlete was filled with so much joy and even gave hugs and high-fives to the volunteers as they crossed the finish line. I personally felt so blessed to have had that opportunity and it is something I will never forget."

In addition to OEC's volunteers, the OEC Foundation, Inc. via the Operation Round Up program donates funds to area Special Olympics teams each year. That funding is made possible by members who round up their monthly electric bills to the nearest dollar. Read more about this program each month on page 4.

Thank you to everyone who donated time, energy or dollars to make the Special Olympics a success.