By Melanie Barrios
Do what you love, and you’ll never work another day in your life.
Everyone has heard that sentiment countless times while preparing to go out into the work field. It is common nowadays for people to find joy in their work, but it is rare when someone strikes gold twice. Lieutenant Kellee Hicks found two life paths for the price of one.
Lt. Hicks works for the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department and finds great joy in sticking up for those who cannot stand up for themselves. Since middle school, Kellee has had a strong desire to stick up for the underdogs, and that passion led her to a career in law enforcement. This lifelong decision has been the most essential and rewarding path in her life, but like all jobs, there are stressful moments. In those stressful moments, she finds pleasure in sports.
On any given day, one can find Lt. Hicks watching sports, talking about sports, or out on the field or court engaging in friendly competition. Sports has been the best activity to keep her sane from stressful job demands. She found a way to continue giving back to the community through her love of sports. She coaches basketball, officiates basketball games, and even assists with track events at Cal State Long Beach. It was during her time officiating games that she was asked to officiate an event for Special Olympics; the rest is history.
“What I love most about Special Olympics is being able to assist individuals that sometimes are unable to assist themselves in daily activities with the sports and having the ability to fight right alongside them to gain the small achievements,” states Lt. Hicks.
This fall, she will continue her support of Special Olympics as she and her flag football team, LASD Lady Grizzlies, compete in the Guardian Bowl on November 26th at Rose Bowl Stadium. The flag football event is geared toward raising funds and awareness for Special Olympics athletes. The event is extra special to Lt. Hicks, whose team is preparing to represent women in law enforcement in a usually dominated male sport, showing that female athletes can achieve success on and off the field. The Guardian Bowl has a different energy from other fundraising events as people are excited to fully get back together in a semi-post-COVID world.
As the Guardian Bowl takes place, all the hard work and preparation becomes worth it as Lt. Hicks remembers what she is looking forward to experiencing again. “My favorite memory from Special Olympics is just being able to high-five a volume of kids and individuals on the opening ceremonies, especially when they’re so excited to be part of the huge program,” she shares.
And for anyone looking for opportunities to get involved in Special Olympics, Lt. Hicks suggests “searching for events near you and getting involved. Start small, and you will quickly know that this is something you want to devote your time to.”
Learn more about volunteer opportunities and the Guardian Bowl at sosc.org/guardianbowl.