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The Spirit of the Games Continues Burning

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RALEIGH — TheSpecial Olympics World Summer Gamesleft local organizers feeling both hot and cold. They were hot over the promise of more volunteers to help with future Special Olympics events and cold over the availability of volunteers to help out right now.

For several months, Special Olympics took center stage in North Carolina. Games on the county and state levels were but a taste of the main attraction when North Carolina played host to the world.

The Flame of Hope is extinguished, but as local organizers are fond of saying, there is no off-season for Special Olympics.

Keith Fishburne, president ofSpecial Olympics North Carolina, is trying to keep the momentum going.

He admits when it comes to finding volunteer help, there has been a bit of World Games burnout.

"Everybody needs some time to rest, and we have experienced some of that," said Fishburne.

Volunteers are needed now for help with training athletes in different counties for swim season.

Fishburne says the future looks bright. His office is inheriting the list of volunteers from the World Games.

"And what we expect to see, probably picking up around mid-August, is the phone ringing a lot more with a lot more people following up with us," said Fishburne.

Kat Hardy volunteered for the World Games and helped organizeSAS Institute's sponsorship of the event.

Most volunteers from SAS helped with golfing events at Prestonwood. Hardy says the experience convinced her and many co-workers to stay involved on the state and county levels.

"I think people were just charmed by the athletes. It is so hard to have any kind of contact with the athletes and not just absolutely fall in love," said Hardy.

Along with help on the county level, Special Olympics North Carolina especially needs volunteers to commit to half-year or year-round leadership roles.

If you are interested, you can call919-719-7662.

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Rick Armstrong, Reporter
Rick Armstrong, Photographer
John Clark, Web Editor

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