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Parks Takes Home Top Honors At Special Olympics Competition



Adkins is Coach of the Year.  Carpenter is Athlete of the Year.

Nashville, TN --- Metro Parks’ Golden “Glen” Adkins was named Special Olympics Coach of the Year and Kenny Carpenter, a participant in the department’s recreation program for people with disabilities was named Special Olympics Athlete of the Year.  The honors were given at the Special Olympics Nashville Track & Field competition held Friday at Father Ryan High School.

Parks Director Tommy Lynch said, “Kenny epitomizes the code of the Special Olympic Athlete.  He tries hard every time and helps his fellow competitors whether it is a ‘win or lose’ situation and Glen is truly ‘Golden’.  It is so heartwarming  to see his interaction with his patrons and athletes.  He shows patience while instilling the code of the Special Olympics as well as getting those he coaches to excel.”

Adkins, a Specialized Skills Instructor for people with disabilities at Hartman and Coleman Community Centers, was nominated by fellow coaches and by several parents of athletes enrolled in Metro Parks’ Disabilities Program. Those letters were sent to a committee of volunteers who selected him as the 2013 Special Olympics Coach of the Year based on the number of years coaching, passion, and commitment to Special Olympics.

Coaches play a special role in the Special Olympics organization and competitions explained Terry Watkins, Director of Special Olympics Nashville.   “Coaches are a critical component of Special Olympics’ work, a key figure in an athlete’s life, providing the sports skills and spirit that define a true athlete. They serve as role models and character builders, giving Special Olympics athletes awareness of their worth, ability, courage and capacity to grow and improve. Special Olympics coaches also have a direct impact on athletes’ lives by helping them acquire skills that can influence their abilities to obtain employment, succeed in school and achieve personal goals,” he said.

Adkins was one of several people who nominated Kenny Carpenter for Special Olympics’ Nashville Athlete of the Year.  “Kenny has been participating in Special Olympics since 1985 - an amazing 28 years!  In just the last year alone he has competed in Flag Football, Bowling, Soccer, Basketball, and Bocce as a part of the Metro Parks’ Disabilities Program.     He also was a representative of Special Olympics Nashville at Special Olympics Tennessee State Games competitions in Bocce, Flag Football, Soccer, and Basketball in the last year,” he said.  

“Having had the privilege of coaching Kenny for the last 8 years, I can personally contest to his tenacity and grit at competitions.  Kenny always has a great work ethic and trains hard for whatever he is competing in.  He constantly works to get better, which is apparent as he continues to improve even at the age of 37.  Although he has played his best flag football, soccer, and basketball of his long career this year, I think what best exemplifies his strive for perfection is his achievement of it.  Kenny has, in the last 12 months, bowled 3 perfect 300 games.  Bowling one 300 game is a feat that most people will never accomplish in their lifetime.  I find it remarkable that Kenny has not only achieved such a feat, but duplicated it twice more!  I look forward to seeing what Kenny will accomplish next as he ceases to amaze me. 
“Aside from Special Olympics competitions, Kenny has always been a vocal promoter of Special Olympics.  He has sung their praises to anyone (and I mean ANYONE) and everyone who will listen.  He is also a former Special Olympics Ambassador where he travelled around and spoke to groups about Special Olympics, what it means to him, and how it has helped him.  Kenny is also an active member of his community participating in 3 bowling leagues, working part-time at Taco Bell and now McDonald’s, and volunteering his time to help at Special Olympics Competitions in which he is not participating,” stated Adkins. 

Metro Parks and Recreation has offered a supervised recreation program for individuals with disabilities for more than 35 years. A wide variety of activities are offered at selected Metro Park community centers and various recreation facilities in the community. Offered throughout the year is an adult day program and monthly weekend activities for all ages. During the summer months, day camps are offered for both adults and youth. Summer camps utilize peer groups to partner with our campers each day.

In addition, Metro Parks partners with other local agencies including the Sports 4 All foundation, Tennessee Special Olympics and Best Buddies of Nashville to offer special activities throughout the year. The Disabilities Program also works with MTA's Access Ride to help participants with getting to and from events and activities.

Since the program has a limited capacity, advance registration is required and a waiting list is maintained for those interested. The program is headquartered at Hartman Regional Recreation Center. For more detailed information,     call the Disabilities Program staff at (615) 862-8479.