By Sky M. Laron, NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka Director of Corporate Communications
YOKOSUKA, Japan (NNS) -- Naval Supply Systems Command (NAVSUP) Fleet Logistics Center (FLC) Yokosuka, Site Okinawa personnel volunteered in support of the 16th Annual Kadena Special Olympics held at the Risner Fitness Center Sports Complex on Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Japan Nov. 7.
The Site Okinawa Sailors teamed with approximately 1,700 volunteers from different branches of the U.S. military and the local community to assist with the event.
Lt. Gen. John Dolan, U.S. Forces Japan and 5th Air Force commander, Brig. Gen. Barry Cornish, 18th Wing commander and Masaru Machida, Okinawa Prefectural Government Executive Office of the Governor director general, gave opening remarks, giving their thanks and encouragement to the many athletes, volunteers and spectators on hand.
Special Olympics is a global organization that changes lives by promoting understanding, acceptance and inclusion among people with and without intellectual disabilities.
Logistics Specialist 1st Class Valerie Florespagan and Logistics Specialist 2nd Class Aaron Duffy both Site Okinawa Sailors, volunteered as athlete buddies, serving as an escort, cheerleader and friend to their athletes.
"It was fun and I'm glad I was able to help out someone else in need," said Duffy.
For the 850 athletes who participated, their buddies helped them honor their oath.
The Special Olympics athlete's oath, which was first introduced by Eunice Kennedy Shriver at the inaugural Special Olympics international games in Chicago in 1968, is "Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt."
More than 4.5 million athletes with intellectual disabilities are involved in Special Olympics programs around the world. In addition, the Special Olympics have more than 1 million coaches and volunteers across 226 Programs in more than 170 countries.
"The Special Olympics mean so much to these athletes," said Lt. Robert Doggett, NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka, Site Okinawa director. "They wait all year for this event and a chance to interact with our service members and we're grateful to be able to participate in such an event and really make a difference in the local community."
For the Site Okinawa personnel who volunteer in their local community on a regular basis, the event will not soon be forgotten.
Site Okinawa is part of NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka, one of eight fleet logistics centers under NAVSUP Global Logistics Support (GLS), which is the Western Pacific region's largest U.S. Navy logistics command, headquartered just 26 miles due south of Tokyo, the enterprise networks more than 20 sites and fuel terminals from Misawa, Japan, to Sydney, Australia; Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean to Guam with a mission to serve the Asia Pacific Region's forward deployed maritime Warfighter with 24/7 operational logistics support integrating an extensive service provider network to deliver fuel, material, mail and supply chain services across the U.S. Navy's largest geographical area of responsibility.