The evening of July 23, 2015 The Port of Hueneme proudly hosted the Special Olympics Athlete’s and Delegation’s celebration of their participation in the upcoming games in Los Angeles. The event was an evening of recognition of the individual athletes by the Port and its Board of Harbor Commissioners.
Port Commission President Jess Herrera, addressing the gathered athletes and supporters shared, “In 1968 Eunice Kennedy Schriver started the Special Olympics program to encourage the participation and inclusion of people of all ages and skill levels in athletic competition. Competition that would not be defined by a person’s disabilities but by their special abilities to compete. In life we are defined by our effort and nowhere is that more true than here. The modal of the Special Olympics should inspire us all. Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”
177 countries registered in the Special Olympic Games and Oxnard participated as one of the host cities. The visiting international delegations joined dignitaries from Oxnard and the Port at the Whale’s Tail Restaurant in Channel Islands Harbor. The Port of Hueneme was pleased to partner with Oxnard in saluting these athletes. In attendance were 43 athletes, 75 additional guests and community leaders including Oxnard Mayor Tim Flynn, Council Member Bryan McDonald, and Chancellor Bernie Luskin for the Ventura County Community District. In commending the athletes, the Port also gave accolades to the Police Activities League who organized the delegations visit to Oxnard.
According to harbor sources this was, a beautiful venue to share with the athletes, some of whom had not only no port in their country, but had not seen the ocean before.
Every two years, Special Olympics athletes come together to compete at the Special Olympics World Games. This summer, over 6,500 athletes from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe will compete in 25 sporting events. There will be 30,000 volunteers to make sure the events run smoothly. Competitions will be televised on ESPN. Athletes descended upon dozens of Southern California host cities in advance to show share in the region’s hospitality. Unlike most cities that received on average of two to three delegations, Oxnard is proud to have been named host city for athletes from six countries, Afghanistan, Papua New Guinea, Kosovo, Samoa, American Samoa and Tonga a total of more than 50 athletes. Organizers paid attention to special connections within each city to a particular country or delegation, such as sister city relationships or large populations from a particular nationality, and tried to match towns and delegations accordingly.
CEO Kristin Decas cheered on the athletes and commented, ‘The Port welcomes the spirit of competition and holds these athletes in the highest regard. We take great pride in supporting these athletes and our grass roots community in holding this memorable and momentous occasion. These athletes earned this great achievement by hard work, dedication and grace, they are all winners.”