VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (NNS) -- Special Olympic athletes from various Virginia cities visited the Rockwell Hall Gymnasium aboard Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story, Va., to compete in the 2011 Special Olympics, Jan. 29.
"A large number of athletes who participated have family members in the military; my son is one of them," said Deena Myer-Morris, Chesapeake Special Olympics vice president. "My husband is in the Navy, and this is another support system for all the family members who have special children like we do."
This year marks the 15th year JEBLCFS has hosted the event.
"This area has been a very good supporter of the military, and this is just one way of giving back to the community," said Col. Thomas David Netzel, deputy commander, JEBLCFS. "I am new to this community as well, and I am already looking forward to being involved in the community by participating and volunteering."
Many of the volunteers for the event were service members from USS Ramage (DDG 61), Fleet Industrial Supply Norfolk and FISC Color Guard, First Naval Construction Division and the Navy and Marine Corps Intelligence Training Center.
Local Naval Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps volunteers provided assistance to players, tallied scoreboards, prepared the awards and cheered.
Kellam High School Jazz Band, led by Cameron Baker, provided the audience with musical entertainment throughout the day.
Other participating volunteer groups helped out by handing out lunches and refreshments, and by providing security for the event.
The organizers helped boost the morale of the crowd by inviting a player from the Harlem Globetrotters, Wun "The Shot" Versher, as a guest to autograph posters and for photo opportunities.
"We want to extend our responsibility to the community beyond the hardwood floors of the basketball court," said Versher. "I am here to support the community, mingle with people and hopefully, to get smiles from these kids out here."
"Many don't realize this event is a volunteer program, and that all of what we are able to do is because of donations," said Myers-Morris. "It takes all hands and a community effort to make this happen."
"As service members, we need to take part in community outreach projects such as this," said Netzel. "By doing so, we let the community understand what we do, and make them aware of our presence as contributors to the wellness of the community."
For more news from Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story, visit www.navy.mil/local/jeblcfs/.