Pruitt named Special Olympic Athlete of the Year

Madison County Special Olympics recently celebrated its 2021 honorees: (left to right) Lincoln Comer, Coach of the Year; Cory Coburn, ABC Restrooms, Organization of the Year; John Huffman, Volunteer of the Year; Stacey Wallace, Fan of the Year, an award accepted by her son, Carl; Savannah’s Heart of a Champion award winner Mike Williams; and Dustin Pruitt, Athlete of the Year.

(Published February 1, 2022)

The Madison County Special Olympics program – affiliated with the Madison County Board of Developmental Disabilities (MCBDD) – recently announced the winners of its annual recognition awards. At the top of the list was Dustin Pruitt who was named Athlete of the Year.

Athletes, staff and members of the Special Olympics community involved in the program vote for the winners.

Although opportunities were still somewhat curtailed in a year affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, many athletes excelled in the opportunities given to them.

Unified softball was where Pruitt excelled. As a major pitcher and offensive contributor, Pruitt helped lead the Madison County Tigers to the division. I declare the Special Olympics Unified Softball Title. He also plays for the Tigers Div. Basketball Team III, leading the team in assists.

“Dustin has had an outstanding year as an athlete for the Madison County Special Olympics program,” said Lincoln Comer, MCBDD Director of Special Olympics and Community Recreation. “He showed great maturity, dedication and excelled in the grueling game of softball.”

A longtime Madison County Special Olympics leader, Comer won Coach of the Year honors. He led the Tigers to the Madison County First Division. I declare the title in over a decade, this time on the softball field.

“After a long hiatus from competitive sports, no one knew exactly how Special Olympics would bounce back in Ohio,” Comer’s proponent said. “In Madison County, that came in the form of a D-1 Unified State Softball Title.”

The Unified Golf Team resurfaced in 2021 and John Huffman was an integral part of it, winning the Volunteer of the Year award.

“His warm smile, positive attitude and pleasant demeanor have always been welcome to our athletes,” Comer said. “Without the dedication of volunteers like Mr. Huffman, many of our athletes would have once again lost their chance to play the sport they love so much.

Again this year, Madison County Special Olympics honored an organization that offered support to improve the program. This year’s recipient of the Organization of the Year award is ABC Restrooms.

For years, ABC Restrooms has donated reliable on-site facilities for Tigers practices, games, tournaments and outings.

“Practice is key to ensuring athletes are prepared for their various competition venues,” Comer said. “Training without a toilet nearby is nearly impossible for any athlete at any level.”

His dedication to the many Madison County Tigers teams helped Stacey Wallace receive Fan of the Year honors. From softball to basketball, she is always available to support the Tigers.

“Some may say she had an unfair advantage because she had so many family members to cheer on,” Comer said. “Stacey could say the only benefit she received was a throaty throat for cheering on so many different Tiger teams.”

Special Olympics athlete Mike Williams received Savannah’s Heart of a Champion Award for his dedication to Special Olympics Madison County.

Named in memory of former Special Olympics athlete Savannah Wilson, the award symbolizes a person who demonstrates courage, determination and class on and off the court.

Competing in bowling and golf, Williams is known for being humble, dedicated and pushing hard, even when playing through adversity.

“No matter the sport, Mike arrives on time, smiling and ready to go,” Comer said. “It defines the word ‘even-keel’ and is the standard to which all athletes should stand.”

For more information about Special Olympics in Madison County, contact Comer at (740) 852-7052, ext. 1917.


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