We live in a world where not everyone takes the time to think before they speak and the words that sometimes come out are hurtful to others. These words can be racial, degrading, joking or simply words that can be taken the wrong way. For Special Olympic Athletes this is the use of “retarded,” “mental retardation,” or variations of these.
During this year's Kentucky Legislative session, state lawmakers undertook an effort to make sure that those terms were taken out of official state wording. House Bill 485 was introduced on Feb. 28, passed unanimously by the House on March 21 and then passed the Senate unanimously on April 12. The bill was signed into law by Governor Steve Beshear on April 18. HB 485 states:
“AN ACT relating to individuals with intellectual disabilities.
Create a new section of KRS Chapter 446 to provide that the Kentucky Revised Statutes shall no longer utilize the terms "mental retardation" or "mentally retarded" or abbreviations that use the letters "MR" to signify mental retardation or mentally retarded; set forth terms that shall be used instead, including "intellectual disability," "intellectual disabilities," "individual with an intellectual disability," "individuals with an intellectual disability," "individual with a serious intellectual disability," or "individuals with a serious intellectual disability"; clarify that the new terms shall be understood to have the exact meaning as the terms that they replace; change the names of ICF/MRs to ICF/IDs to the extent permitted by federal law; amend various sections of the Kentucky Revised Statutes to replace all occurrences of the old terms in statutes with the new terms, including the names of agencies, boards, care facilities, services, programs, professionals, diagnoses, the title of a chapter, and the names of nongovernmental entities that have incorporated the new terminology.“
HB485 is a 247-page bill that was spear headed by Special Olympics Coach Will Coy-Geeslin of Woodford County and others. The passing of this bill shows that the voice of just one person can and does speak
to communities, states, and nations on the way we can all “Spread the Word to End the Word.” Visit
r-word.org to take the pledge today to end the use of the “R word.” The next time you think about calling someone “retarded” think about changing that word to RESPECT and be someone with a voice that is respected by all.
To read more on this bill please visit: http://www.lrc.ky.gov/record/12RS/HB485.htm
Cindy Hackworth of Floyd County has been a longtime volunteer with Special Olympics Kentucky at Area Games in Prestonsburg. Cindy started volunteering as a representative of the 4H Club, where she brought her students out to volunteer for the games. In 2009 there was a need for a Competition Manager and without hesitation Cindy agreed and has been serving in the role ever since. She currently serves as the competition manager not just for track but bowling as well.
It has been a privilege for me to serve in the capacity of Competition Manager for Area 3 & 9 for the past few years. As I come in contact with these athletes at the various events they each hold a special place in my heart. It's a heartfelt experience to watch these athletes compete and the effort they put forth in their events. To see the excitement on their faces when they receive their awards whether it's a first, second, third place or a participation ribbon should give each of us more of a desire to strive to be all that we can be. Even though I am a Competition Manager I could not do events of this magnitude without the support and assistance of all the volunteers and community involvement. I would like to express my gratitude and Thanks to each one.
Cindy L. Hackworth
The 2012 Area 3 & 9 Spring Games had to be moved from Prestonsburg High School, home of these games since 2003, due to renovations being done to the football field. Without hesitation Cindy took the challenge to find a location for this year’s games. Johnson Central High School in Paintsville became home to this year’s Spring Games.
Cindy never meets a stranger and is a walking billboard for Special Olympics Kentucky in the Eastern part of our state. Cindy has a way about her that she is able to get the whole community involved and in support of the games. Cindy’s outgoing personality and compassion for our program makes it easy for her to raise donations from local business to provide additional support for these games. The Area Track event this year, she will raise over $2,500 that will all benefit the athletes and coaches on the day of the competition. Cindy goes above and beyond to make sure that participants will receive an event t- shirt, lunch, and a goody bag packed full.
At the end of the long day and countless volunteer hours, Cindy can sleep well knowing that she has changed the lives of Special Olympics Kentucky athletes, coaches and volunteers. Special Olympics Kentucky would not exist without the help, dedication and support of volunteers like Cindy.
If you would like to learn more about volunteering with Special Olympics Kentucky contact Justin Harville – Volunteer Services Director at email@example.com or toll free 1-800-633-7403.