Every year, Special Olympics Southern California recognizes volunteers that go above and beyond in their volunteer roles. Congratulations to our 2019 John West and Harahan award recipients! We appreciate all you do for our athletes and our movement!
2019 JOHN WEST AWARD WINNER
The John West Award is presented annually to honor volunteers’ accomplishments within SOSC, as well as their hard work and dedication to help Special Olympics athletes succeed and reach their goals.
Lt. Ugo “Butch” Arnoldi
Santa Barbara County
Years Active: 30+ Years
Role: Leadership Council and Law Enforcement Torch Run Volunteer
Butch Arnoldi has been a fixture of Special Olympics in Santa Barbara County for over 30 years. He serves as a key member of the Santa Barbara Leadership Council where he provides advice and leadership for the region. Butch also oversees LETR and Tip-A-Cops in the region where he has successfully raised thousands of dollars every year to support Special Olympics. Butch also helps at all competitions held in Santa Barbara, where he walks in Opening Ceremonies, cheers on athletes during competition and awards medals and ribbons to the athletes. There is no gleam like the one visible in his eyes when he medals our athletes at our competitions.
Butch is a friend to the athletes, staff and volunteers of Special Olympics. The Santa Barbara region would look very different without his dedication and influence. We are honored recognize his efforts!
2019 HARAHAN AWARD RECIPIENTS
Since 1999, through funding provided by the Simmons-Balser Foundation, Special Olympics Southern California (SOSC) has been able to honor the accomplishments of outstanding adult volunteers from all over our SOSC Chapter. The Michael W. Harahan Award is presented to volunteers with exceptional dedication and performance in their volunteer role(s).
Years Active: 5 years
Role: Head Coach/Coach and Clinician
Dave has been so instrumental in helping Special Olympics offer flag football, not only within his region, but to all athletes in SOSC. He combines his passion for football and his dedication to our athletes and we are so grateful to Dave. He became Tri-Valley’s first Head Coach in flag football. Soon after, he became the clinician for Flag football and has trained over 40 coaches in the last two years. He organized scrimmages with SCV, AV and Glendale teams. He helped SOSC offer a two-day flag football exhibition at 2018 Summer Games. Additionally, Dave is our lead for the GMT and will assist SCV and TRI offer their first flag football competitions. Dave participated in the Rams clinics, PPK Challenge and recent Unified LETR flag football games. Dave is the epitome of the power of passion, volunteering and enriching lives through sport. We are lucky to have him!
Years Active: 10-12 years
Role: Unified Partner in Golf, Team Wellness Head Coach, Games Management Team for Golf and Spring Games
Ed Cass has been volunteering with Special Olympics for over 10 years. He has coached many sports throughout the years- softball, basketball, floor hockey and golf. Additionally, Ed has dedicated many hours as a unified partner in golf. He has formed true and long lasting friendships with athletes. Ed’s new passion is Team Wellness; he has served as the Head Coach with SCV Team Wellness for three seasons, and he is currently offering Team Wellness at LARC Ranch, a large residential facility with 13 group homes. Ed is helping to deliver Team Wellness, one villa at a time! In addition to being a unified golf partner and Head of Team Wellness, Ed serves on the Games Management Team for the SCV Golf Competition and SCV Spring Games. Outside of sports, Ed recently made 20 gallons of award-winning vegetarian chili for our annual chili cook off. Ed is a superstar!
San Gabriel Valley
Years Active: 11 Years
Role: Pasadena Area Fundraising and Community Engagement Coordinator
Tina has been a long-time volunteer for Special Olympics Pasadena Area for over 11 years. Previously, she served as the Area Director, and over the past couple of years, Tina is now leading the Fundraising and Community Engagement efforts in Pasadena to ensure sustainability, revenue growth, and a vibrant Special Olympics presence. To Tina, Special Olympics is a family effort as her husband and son have served as coaches, while daughter, Jenna, is a Special Olympics athlete. Through Tip-A-Cops, Torch Run Final Leg, Dunkin’ Donuts Cop on a Rooftop, Albertson’s Vons Pavilion Campaign, and cultivating community support, Tina has raised over $250,000 during her time leading fundraising efforts in the Pasadena Area. Tina has not only stabilized revenue but has developed an annual plan to increase revenue through LETR, AVP, and community groups. Tina is extremely passionate about our mission, and we are so fortunate to have her on our team!
Years Active: 10+ Years
Role: LPC for Mychal’s Learning Place, Head Coach, and Team Wellness Head Coach
Pablo has made an immeasurable impact over the past 10+ years as a passionate advocate for all Special Olympics athletes, especially the athletes from Mychal’s Learning Place. His volunteer activities are as varied as his skills, and they include: working with new and existing athletes to help train and develop them into champions; teaching athletes not only sport-specific skills, but integrating social skills; and simply acting like a friend to those who are most in need of one. Furthermore, he has secured funds and donations for equipment, uniforms and transportation to maintain the success of the program. Pablo is a true advocate for Special Olympics as he has created a culture of inclusiveness at the center and helps each athlete achieve their personal best. Pablo is extremely deserving to be recognized for this honor!
Years Active: 12+ Years
Role: LPC for City of Carson, Head Coach
Eileen is a strong advocate for Special Olympics as she leads the way in the City of Carson, making sure that each athlete has the same opportunities as the city residents. She continually advocates for an inclusive culture and helps athletes achieve their personal best. She encourages each athlete to shoot for the stars and exemplify good sportsmanship at all times. She has devoted herself to selfless voluntary service, earning her the respect of her peers and has become a role model for the City of Carson and Special Olympics Southern California as a whole. Eileen is a great leader in her community and we are lucky to have her!
San Gabriel Valley
Years Active: 6 Years
Role: Assistant LPC for City of Cerritos, Head Coach for swimming and soccer
Joe is a strong advocate for the City of Cerritos program and all athletes in total. Joe advocates for an inclusive culture and helps all athletes to achieve their best. Joe has stepped up to be a head coach and main contact during times of transition in the City of Cerritos, and he attends all practices and competitions that his program attends. Joe aspires to help the athletes achieve everything they can, on and off the field. We are grateful for all of his efforts, and are excited to recognize his hard work.
Years Active: 14+ years
Lisa has been a coach for Special Olympics Ventura since her talented daughter and athlete Althea Barilone-Hayes joined SOSC. Lisa not only coaches, but is always willing to lend a helping hand at any of our events throughout the year, including other competitions, fundraisers and the Torch Run. She will be the first one to volunteer and the last one to stay at an event. She was an integral member of the Parade of Lights Dinner and even provided rides to athletes who needed it. She treats her team like family and has their best interests at heart. Furthermore, Lisa is a SOSC liaison for many other local organizations throughout Ventura County. Even with her busy schedule, she always has time to support SOSC in any way she can and is a very important key member in our Special Olympics Ventura County Team. We are so proud to recognize her!
Years Active: 10 years
Every day, Coach Mike shows his dedication for Special Olympic Athletes. With more than 10 years with Special Olympics Kern County, he has gone above and beyond a “coach” or “volunteer”. At any given time, Kern can call on Coach Mike and he is there with a smile to help. Whether it’s in sports, parades, and/or volunteering at competitions to, more recently, accepting the responsibilities for all the equipment, he shows up 100%! Mike also engaged his employer to support SOSC and they have requested that all employees sign up for volunteer hours. Coach Mike is a leader in Kern, and we are lucky to have him on our team!
Northern Santa Barbara
Years Active: 3 years
Role: Unified Basketball Coach
Marjorie has been very motivated from the start to bring Special Olympics to Lompoc High School. She is the founder and adviser of the Project Unify Club, which was established in February of 2016. She was the head coach for the unified basketball team that was later chosen to be part of the team Southern California delegation to attend the 2018 National USA Games in Seattle. Marjorie is a natural leader that is very passionate about the work she does. Additionally, she was recognized by the Santa Barbara County Office of Education for the first Bill Cirone Heart of Education Award given in the Fall of 2018. This award recognizes an outstanding educator who demonstrates passion, creativity, and compassion for students. Northern Santa Barbara has been very fortunate to have Marjorie as one of our coaches. She truly understands the spirit of Unified Sports and continues to integrate the general education students with the special education students. Even with her very busy life, she took time out of her schedule to attend the Unified Champion Schools conference in San Diego to learn more about the Unified movement. We are lucky to have a leader like Marjorie in Northern Santa Barbara!
San Luis Obispo
Years Active: 8+ years
Role: Administrative Support, Volunteer Recruiter
Angela Neary is a key volunteer for San Luis Obispo outside of sports. Angela teaches Recreation Administration, Health Education, and Kinesiology Activities at Cuesta College and is passionate about teaching and giving her students the best learning experience possible. She is dedicated to serving the SOSC program alongside her students and has helped them become Class A volunteers to coach at practices and also run the bullpen at SOSC games. Her students are always responsible, professional, and happy to help and that is largely due to Angela and the positive environment that she creates. She also goes above and beyond with her students the day of our Spring Games by having breakfast for them and having a lunch made for each student. She does this to create the best environment and experience possible for her students. Angela is a huge asset to the San Luis Obispo program!
Years Active: 3 years
Role: Local Program Coordinator
The Fontana Lions Local Program started in spring of 2017 with Stan Clark serving as the Local Program Coordinator. The local program started with two sports in the spring season and now offers sports in the spring, summer and fall seasons. The Fontana Lions and Stan’s support has been crucial to this expansion and Inland Empire now has a large certified coach base and is continually growing in athlete numbers. In addition to the Local Program, the Fontana Lions host our Regional Spring Games. In 2017, they hosted swimming, and in 2018 added Bocce and Basketball. The Fontana Lions also support regional events like Big Bear Polar Plunge, and for the third year have a team participate in Special Olympics Inland Empire’s largest fundraiser. The quality of program they provide makes the Fontana Lions one of Special Olympics Inland Empires ‘model’ local programs. We are lucky to have Stan’s passion and are excited to recognize the Fontana Lions!
Andrew “Animal” Matthewson
Years Active: 2+ years
Role: GOC Lead for all major OC competitions and Fundraising events
Andrew Matthewson is the epitome of what an organization looks for in a volunteer. He helps with most events and is proactive in being the first to help unload equipment and the last volunteer to put the final box in the truck and roll down the door. His positive attitude is infectious and he is able to help not only with coordination and set up of events, but leads groups of volunteers in their various responsibilities. Animal helps with other events asides from competitions, such as Tip-A-Cop, and goes above and beyond by staying the whole time and sharing his passion and commitment for Special Olympics to guests and truly inspires others. Orange County is lucky to have Animal on our team!
Years Active: 6 years
Beth Selbe goes above and beyond in her volunteer efforts at Special Olympics. She is a coach year-round in four sports, acts as a speech coach, Global Messenger Trainer, LETR volunteer, and volunteers at community engagement events. Beth puts her heart into her work at Special Olympics and has made our programs more accessible for our athletes. She is a lead volunteer and the staff can depend on her with any responsibility. On top of it all, Beth does all of these things with a grateful heart and a huge smile. She is such a positive, loving, passionate volunteer and it is Special Olympics San Diego’s honor to work with an irreplaceable extended member of the team.
Years Active: 10 years
Role: KTLA Reporter
KTLA has been a longtime partner of SOSC for many years and Gayle has been at the forefront of their support. Gayle chooses SOSC over many other charities. From plunging into the chilly waters of Marina del Rey, to showcasing the many sports SOSC athletes compete in at Summer Games, to sharing the stories of our Law Enforcement running the LA Marathon, Gayle has always been very supportive of SOSC. When on scene for our Media Day shoots, she engages with our athletes and officers; her genuine care for our athletes shines in her broadcasts and helps to spread the word about the SOSC movement. Gayle’s promotion has helped increase participation at many SOSC events such as the plunges, Summer Games, LA marathon and the Plane Pull. We are excited to recognize Gayle!
Dr. Richard Mungo
Sports and Programs
Years Active: 9+ years
Role: Healthy Athletes Special Smiles Clinical Director
Dr. Richard Mungo has been a Special Smiles Clinical Director since 2010. He volunteers his time and services to Special Olympics Southern California at many Regional Events, Summer Games, and Fall Games. Together with his team, Dr. Mungo helps address oral health challenges our athletes continuously face, as well as their overall health- which was a goal Eunice Kennedy Shriver strived for in hopes to better the lives of all SOSC athletes. Dr. Mungo helps SOSC identify oral pathology and diseases at our Healthy Athletes venue that brings together thousands of athletes, where he can discover problems and help guide athletes and their families to proper care. Dr. Mungo also helps decrease the gap in the poor access to care that the special needs community has. He is involved with every Special Smiles event we offer throughout the year, even if he has been in the surgery unit all of the morning. He will go above and beyond and gather staff at his expense to meet and discuss unmet needs and challenges for athletes. His passion for our mission shows in his actions and contributions to our program, but most of all, our athletes. He is always trying to find better ways to help our athletes become healthier. Thank you, Dr. Mungo, for all of your support to our athletes!
Years Active: 5+ years
Role: Chapter Games Ceremonies Lead, Awards Announcer & Westside Coach
Andy Peters volunteers with SOSC in many roles, such as being a coach in the Westside Program, GOC Lead for Ceremonies at all four Championships, emcee at events, award presenter, script writer for send-offs and other events, setup and clean up volunteer for all venues at Games, social media assistant, and more! Andy’s passion for SOSC and the athletes is bar none. He has such passion interacting and joking with his athletes and truly shows their bond. This passion translates over to his role as lead of ceremonies as he consistently finds fun ways to include athletes, whether it be in a punting contest with the Rams Johnny Hekker, athlete co-hosts, and fun skits/games involving the athletes. Andy also added an athlete parade to the Fall Games Championship Ceremony in 2018, which numerous athletes told us was the best ceremony they ever attended. He also helped develop a two parade system at Summer Games to increase the athlete experience by limiting the amount of time athletes stand around. Andy is an amazing volunteer and we are proud to recognize him!