Two members of the management team of the Carbon County Special Olympics were recognized recently by the local organization for having gained recognition from Special Olympics Pennsylvania.
Chris Anthony, training coordinator, and Joan Kostro, treasurer, were acknowledged for their roles in helping to make the local program successful during the organization's meeting held Monday night in Jim Thorpe.
William O'Gurek, manager of the Carbon team, said Anthony and Kostro gained statewide attention from Special Olympics Pa. Anthony, of Palmerton, was named a finalist in the state competition for Management Team Member of the Year while Kostro, of Albrightsville, was recognized for her role in keeping the team's finances in order.
They were among other local team members nominated by O'Gurek for the state's 2009 Annual Awards Program.
In addition to his training coordinator position, Anthony serves as a bowling, floor hockey and athletics coach for the organization. A local businessman, he plays a major role in fundraising for the group and is also a major sponsor of SOPA with his wife Sheri.
In nominating Anthony, O'Gurek said, "Chris has been a leader from the start to get SOPA back in Carbon County. From the first organizational meeting to the last event at PSU, he has been in the forefront. This includes giving up hundreds of hours of time to run practice sessions for bowling and floor hockey skills. He has spent many days taking our athletes to regional competition as well as three-day sessions at PSU the past two years."
O'Gurek said Anthony "has shown leadership and motivational skills just by observing his interaction with the athletes and the great individual and team accomplishments that have been achieved. He has also devoted much in the way of personal financial help to SOPA." In additon, O'Gurek said, "Chris has set high standards of conduct for our athletes in line with their abilities and has stressed the accomplishments of each athlete are important to that athlete and their team."
The training coordinator's efforts, he said, have generated great results. O'Gurek said, "It is very impressive to see each athlete cheer for their team members, even if they are competing against each other. Sportsmanship doesn't get any better than that. Chris is there to congratulate each athlete after each event, whether it is by winning an event or winning by doing the best an athlete can do. He is well respected by the athletes and the coaches. He is encouraging, yet firm when necessary, and has done it all for us, from coaching to fundraising."
O'Gurek sid Kostro has shown a "tremendous passion" for Special Olympics, explaining, "Joan is as intense about her beliefs in SOPA as she is in her 'numbers'. Appropriately explained in one of her e-mails, she wrote: 'I don't want Carbon County Special Olympics to fail again (it was inactive for a few years until its recent revival)... our athletes are depending on us. I made a promise that we wouldn't let that happen and I will do anything I can do to keep that promise. Our athletes work very hard and deserve our help and respect and a lot of effort on our part to see that we keep going for them.'"
In nominating Kostro, O'Gurek said, "Meticulous and intense, Joan's treasurer's reports are always timely and consise. More importantly, her passion for SOPA, described above, is as accurate as her 'numbers,' and her heart is more immense."
For more information about Special Olympics Carbon County, visit www.specialolympicscarboncounty.com.