Grace True first experienced working alongside individuals with intellectual disabilities during her rookie year life guarding in 2005. While at Bible College, she continued to learn more about working with children who are autistic. “I find pride and happiness when coaching children how to swim,” said Grace. “It gives me so much satisfaction to see these athletes grow; and knowing that I play a role in helping them achieve these milestones makes it even better.
The 2019 Plane Pull held at Long Beach Airport will be Grace’s third year involved in the event. Her team, from LA Port C&M will consist of many of her fellow colleagues. “It’s all of the construction and maintenance departments, second level supervisors and tradesmen, family members with their kids and husbands, roofers, painters, mechanics, clerical workers… everyone!,” says Grace. “We even go support other teams who are short on people.”
Grace gives much of the credit to Tim Clark, Natalie Valenzuela and Jennifer Flugal, who has been extremely supportive of the annual Plane Pull event.
Grace reminded us all of what it means to be inclusive. Her favorite memory of the Plane Pull dates back to 2018, when Team Wolfpack were short a few members. “We gave them two or three of our people when they were short. The Wolfpack team also gave four of their guys to help the Pile Driver Union’s team when they were short. It’s all about helping each other out and being supportive.”
Special Olympics Southern California athlete and Global Messenger Marco Martinez also left a lasting impression on Grace. “He came out to one of our chili cook-offs and spoke to us. As he was speaking, all I could notice was everyone’s reaction. We were able to put a face to one of the athlete’s we’re helping.”
A last-minute injury kept Grace out of participating in last year’s Plane Pull. However, she is has battled back and is ready to take on this year’s event alongside her team.
When asked if she had anything to say to Special Olympics supporters, “please continue to support [Special Olympics Southern California]. They’re not just athletes, but are also amazing people. It takes people like those who are involved to continue to support and sponsor them. That’s why I stay involved. For me, sports was life changing, so being able to give back is an amazing feeling.”