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Keesler hosts annual SOMS Summer Games

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Elizabeth Davis
  • 81st Training Wing Public Affairs

Keesler welcomed athletes participating in the annual Special Olympics Mississippi Summer Games, May 10-12.

Hosting the summer games is a long-standing tradition for both the base and local community, with athletes and their families gathering in Biloxi for the last 35 years.

"I know all of our athletes and families look forward to this event every year, and it's just as special for you as it is for us," said Col. Billy Pope Jr., 81st Training Wing commander. "Whether you're a volunteer, part of our family, or one of our athletes, we just ask three things - we want you to work hard, take care of each other, and have fun."

The theme of this year’s event was “Adventure is Out There”. Sporting events tested the athletes’ ability and agility in track and field, swimming, tennis, volleyball, bocce, golf, bowling and powerlifting.

During the games, each of the 500 SOMS athletes were paired with two Airman sponsors from the 81st Training Group. The Airman sponsors showed them around base, cheered them on during their sporting events and spent free time forming bonds and getting to know each other better.

Airmen from the 81st Force Support Squadron, the 81st Mission Support Group, the 81st Medical Group and more worked the weekend to ensure that the athletes, families and sponsors had a safe and fun experience.

The event ended with a victory dance to celebrate the weekend’s accomplishments. Monica Daniels, SOMS director, left the athletes with one question.

“Who’s got their dancing shoes on?”