By Troy Saadat

The Curry County Special Olympics brought the holidays in with high style this year at its athlete awards ceremony and dinner, capping off the bowling season. The event was held at Turtle Rock Resort in Gold Beach.

This was a transitional year for the Curry group. Trish McCarten, who has run the Curry County Special Olympics for years with the help of her husband James, has moved to the Portland area.

It has also been without another linchpin, Gold Beach Police Chief Dixon Andrews. Dixon was seriously injured while pursuing a suspect on duty. Dixon does a great deal for those with special needs in the community from Special Olympic Basketball and Track and Field to his beloved Law Enforcement Torch Run. He has been sorely missed.

Many volunteers helped out Special Olympics this year. You know who you are and we thank you all so much.

To name a few, Macen Parke, Teri Hagen and Bonnie Frazier have stepped up to fill the leadership rolesleft by Trish and James.

It takes so much time and prep to make our practices and major competitions happen. The paperwork alone is a daunting challenge. Macen, Teri, and Bonnie already lead busy lives but still find time for “Special O.” Thank you so much.

Thanks also to Turtle Rock Resort for allowing us to use your beautiful rec/dining room for our event.

Last but not least, thank you Tsunami Lanes in Crescent City. You’ve really got to hand it to those guys. Without Tsunami Lanes there would be no Special Olympics Bowling. They are the last bowling alley anywhere in the area. They could have easily gone the way of Red’s Drive-in, Azalea Lanes and some of the other family attractions in these parts that have fallen by the wayside. A couple years back, lots of good folks fought to keep this bowling alley open, not the least of which was Hank Northrip of the Crescent City Bowling Association (CCBA).

Ultimately, the decision lay in the hands of Elk Valley Rancheria Chairman Dale A. Miller. No stranger to a fight, (two tours in Vietnam and 14 years as tribal chair give him a PhD in that department), Dale not only fought to keep Tsunami Lanes open until a new owner can be found, he and the tribe doubled down and decided to renovate the facility.

The results are everywhere you look, from improved mechanics and scoring to more ball choices and shoe sizes. From youth programs to adult leagues, more and more people are coming to bowl there every day. The staff at the alley did great with our athletes so hats off again to Tsunami Lanes.

Once again Curry County Special Olympics wishes to thank everyone involved in 2017 and we’ll see you all in 2018 starting with Basketball coming up real soon.