(L-R) are Jessie Petermeier, Jenna Sunderman, Rebecca Reller, Beth Bruemmer, Leah Bruemmer, Brenda Jennissen, Bonnie Radjenovich, Paul Radjenovich, Paul Pierskalla, Brenda Sunderman and Marty Sunderman.
Felling Trailers Inc. conducted an annual online auction of an FT-3 drop deck utility trailer to benefit Special Olympics Minnesota in October of this year. To close the chapter on this year's story, Felling Trailers Inc. presented the donation checks to two Special Olympics Teams, Special Olympics Golden Eagles and Young Athletes teams.
“Special Olympics Minnesota was very gracious to allow Felling Trailers to keep the donated funds local. The Special Olympics Golden Eagles team is comprised of participates from the Sauk Centre and Melrose, Minnesota, areas and the Young Athletes team of the Sauk Centre area," said Brenda Jennissen, CEO of Felling Trailers Inc.
The winning bid of $2,900 was divided between the two groups with $2,000 going to the Golden Eagles team and $900 going to the Young Athletes team.
“It was truly a pleasure to meet those that will directly benefit from the dollars raised through our Trailer for a Cause Auction,” said Jennissen.
The Golden Eagles team has close to 80 participants ranging from 8 years old all the way to 79. The athletes train and participate in competitions through the bulk of the year in a variety of sports such as flag football, basketball, bowling, swimming and track & field.
An average practice day for the team starts with announcements and a warm-up period that includes stretches and a few exercises. Then they work on skills according to the specific sport, individual or team they are practicing. For team sports, they work on running plays together along with coaches working with each athlete individually to make them as successful as they can be.
“The donation we received will be used for our upcoming state competition in June. It will be for our track & field and swimming competition. It is a 3-day event so we will be staying in a hotel and will need transportation for that trip.” said Beth Brummer, a coach of the Golden Eagles team. “Our team is very good to each other. Our athletes and coaches encourage one another to fulfill our oath. They have so much fun just being together. Riding the bus and being involved in a team and a part of a group has been a growing experience for many of our athletes. Two of our athletes have gone on to become coaches and are doing a great job. We are so glad that this community has been so supportive and has given these athletes this treasured opportunity in their lives."
The Young Athletes team currently has 28 participants ranging in age from 2 to 7 years old. The program is a stepping-stone, so to speak, that introduces children with and without intellectual disabilities to the world of sports. The team meets two times a year, fall/spring, for eight weeks.
“We learn different mechanics to basic sports skills like how to kick and to throw a ball," said Emily Dunn, program director of Young Athletes Sauk Centre.
Along with motor skills, the children learn social, emotional and learning skills such as sharing, taking turns and following directions. Young Athletes is an offshoot of the Special Olympics and is free to participants.
“The funds received from Felling Trailers will be used for snacks, sports equipment and possibly some scooters for the kids. In the coming year we will also be offering a new program, Unified Juniors for kids ages 8 to 17 years old with intellectual disabilities. We are very excited for that. Those without disabilities are welcome to be volunteers. We are always looking for volunteers to keep the programs running and successful,” said Dunn.
With the Unified Juniors program, children learn more sport-specific skills and are introduced to the world of competitive sports in a gradual, fun way and learn about Special Olympics sports.
The 2017 Trailer for a Cause FT-3 utility trailer was painted in Felling's Viper Red and dawned a custom decal featuring the Special Olympics logo. Felling Trailers wanted to bring awareness of Special Olympics and help provide funding for the individuals who take part in and benefit from the events and services provided by Special Olympics Minnesota (SOMN).
The online auction ran for 12 days, from Sept. 24 thru Oct. 5, ending with a winning bid of $2,900. One hundred percent of the $2,900 winning bid benefits Special Olympics Minnesota.
Special Olympics organization does not receive any government funding however they continue to grow due to the financial support from individuals, businesses, civic groups and events like Felling Trailers' Trailer for a Cause.
The mission of Special Olympics Minnesota is to offer children and adults with intellectual disabilities year-round sports training and competition. Through Special Olympics' athletic, health and leadership programs, people with intellectual disabilities transform themselves, their communities and the world.
Opportunities exist for coaches and athletes to join the Special Olympics Golden Eagles team along with volunteers for the Young Athletes programs. For more information and resources, visit Special Olympics Minnesota online at http://specialolympicsminnesota.org/.
For more information on Felling Trailers, call 800/245-2809 or visit www.felling.com.