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Special Olympians arrest officers

Blue Mountain Eagle - 3/15/2017

The Grant County Special Olympics group and a team of local law enforcement competed Thursday evening in a friendly basketball showdown.

A crowd of spectators cheered on both teams at the Grant Union Junior-Senior High School court in what has become the Special Olympians’ biggest fundraiser.

The audience was involved in the fun with Minute-to-Win-It games, and there was a dessert auction and bake sale.

The Special Olympics team won the game, but even more important than the score was the sportsmanship and friendship shared on the court.

“I loved everything about the whole thing,” said Special Olympian Elizabeth Swarthout. “Basketball is fun, and we share the ball all the time.”

John Day Police Chief Richard Gray was on the law enforcement team, which included athletes from all the local agencies: JDPD, Grant County Sheriff’s office, Oregon State Police, Grant County District Attorney’s Office and the Grant County Adult Parole and Probation department.

“I enjoy the camaraderie — that we’re able to come together and visit and play a fun game of basketball,” Gray said. “The guys enjoy doing that, and I’m glad the departments can come together for it.”

Kimberly Neault, victims intervention specialist at the district attorney’s office, said the event was “an absolute blast.”

“Their athletic ability is outstanding, and the community support was great,” she said.

Special Olympics coach and co-coordinator Deronda Lallatin said it was a fun evening.

“I really appreciate the police officers, taking all the grief from the emcee and refs,” she said, referring to antics that played out on the court.

David Gill, a Special Olympics volunteer, said the group played well with good teamwork.

He added he appreciates the cooperation of school officials and law enforcement with Special Olympics.

“The event is a group effort, or you’d never get all this done,” he said.

To learn more about Grant County Special Olympics, call Deronda Lallatin at 541-620-4295 or Kathy Gill at 541-620-2186.

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