Special Olympics hosts fund raising gospel sing Friday night

By Steve Phillips - bio | email

GAUTIER, MS  (WLOX) - Special Olympic athletes from our area could use your help. A gospel music concert in Pascagoula Friday night will provide much of the financial support these athletes need for the upcoming regional games and state competition.

"I'm having trouble keeping my wrist straight," said Jennifer Craig.

"I bowled a 102 yesterday in bowling," said Jimmy Bellman.

Craig and Bellman are among dozens of special athletes getting excited about the upcoming games. Bellman is a veteran competitor who participates in several sports.

"Baseball. Swimming. Basketball. Bowling," said Bellman, "But my favorite is swimming."

He's most comfortable in the pool, but the tall 48-year-old is also a threat on the court.

"I like basketball too," he said, "Shoot the hoops and stuff."

"I like first place," said Jennifer Craig, "That's the best."

Jennifer Craig is working on her bowling, but like Jimmy, she prefers the pool.

"I'm a good swimmer. I swim a lot. And I swim in my own pool," she said.

These competitors and hundreds of others are most excited about the upcoming statewide games at Keesler.

"At Keesler, they're paired with two airmen. They're treated like kings and queens for the weekend at Keesler. It's just, they get to see their friends, they get to participate in the events. And it's just a wonderful time for them," said Special Olympics sponsor Terry Higginbotham.

A gospel sing concert on Friday night will help provide the necessary funds.

"Financially, it's everything too. Terry operates our area on a shoestring really. And if this thing goes as well as we think it is, she'll be able to do a lot more for them," said event organizer, Vince Higginbotham.

"Maybe I'll get a first place.  You never know," said a smiling Jimmy Bellman.

The Special Olympics fund raiser is Friday night at 7:00pm at First Baptist Church in Pascagoula. Tickets at the door are $12. Entertainment includes the legendary Blackwood Brothers and The Florida Boys.

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