Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy Steve Moran remembers the day his daughter, Brittney, was born. Something was different. The nurses were huddled around, looking down at his child, and later he was communicating with the doctor.
Brittney was born with Down syndrome. Steve was sitting, head down, and he heard someone say, “It will be OK.” Nobody was there when he looked up, but that was enough to put him at ease.
“I received an angel from God,” Steve said.
Brittney, now 27, has been involved with Special Olympics Southern California in Whitter for eight years. Her father’s connection goes back nearly two decades.
Special Olympics programs often seek local law enforcement to volunteer at events, and one time the Carson station needed additional volunteers. Steve stepped up and was “hooked for life.”
“When I saw the Opening Ceremonies… it caught me right there, right then,” he said.
“It’s a true blessing to watch these [athletes] see their true potential.”
The joy has only intensified after seeing Brittney compete.
She bowled at last month’s Fall Games, placing fourth in her singles division. Brittney said she enjoys watching the pins fall. In addition to sports, Special Olympics has allowed her to “meet new friends” and learn lessons beyond competition.
“They teach me great sportsmanship,” Brittney said of her coaches.
Father and daughter also shared a special moment prior to Fall Games, as Steve escorted Brittney with the Flame of Hope and lit the cauldron at Opening Ceremonies.
It’s been somewhat of a milestone year for Brittney, who also participated in her first Summer Games. She ran the 50- and 100-meter races and competed in the softball throw.
“Watching her do track and field, that was a good moment for our family,” Steve said. “You could see that she was really happy. It didn’t matter what award she got, she was so happy just being involved.
“Seeing that happiness, I can’t ask for anything more than that.”