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AWARE Ink Newsletter

Meet some of our Athletes - Jay and Thad

Updated: Mar 2, 2022

Each year, many of our clients look forward to participating in Special Olympics events across the state. It’s an opportunity to shine in a different light and to showcase their athletic prowess in sports of their choosing.

As many have been preparing for various winter games, we wanted to take a minute to highlight just how remarkable these athletes are.

Meet Jay

Jay (aka “Hollywood”) loves being in the spotlight and doesn’t shy away from opportunities to show off his abilities. In fact, Jay maintains a faithful TikTok presence of over 1,000 followers with a mix of trendy videos posted on an almost daily basis.

When it comes to Special Olympic sports, Jay has been participating for about 16 years and has been involved in basketball, bowling, snowboarding, bike racing and swimming. Jay notes basketball as his favorite sport with snowboarding coming in as a close second. Overall, though, Jay is a lover of all sports.

When bowling, Jay dances around to a custom playlist, which includes Seven Nation Army and various trending TikTok songs at the time. He knows he’s found just the right tune when strikes start becoming a regular theme down the bowling lane.

Likewise, Jay takes a similar approach to snowboarding, finding just the right song to match his current mood. Lately, this has been music that helps him land jumps – a new skill that he’s started picking up.

While out on the slopes, Jay flies down blue runs with ease and is similarly gifted when it comes to navigating most black runs.

At heart, Jay is a die-hard Griz fan with memorabilia decorating most of the walls in his home. He dedicates most of his sporting events to his late friend Jesse Sims, a former defensive lineman for the Grizzlies, who died in a tragic ATV accident.

Meet Thad

Thad is calm and quiet in comparison to Jay but is an equally skilled and accomplished athlete. He has been participating in Special Olympics for as long as he can remember.

Right now, his sports primarily include bowling and skiing. He is also heavily involved in the torch run and loves any opportunity to spend time with members of the law enforcement team.

It doesn’t take long to notice that Thad’s true passion lies within law enforcement. He enjoys all aspects of it and dreams of one day becoming more involved. He helps out as much as he can and is the self-appointed deputy sheriff in his community. When he’s not busy working on his family ranch or participating in sporting events, you can bet he’s helping keep an eye on his community.

When skiing, Thad can be found navigating his way down black mogul runs, which seem to be among his favorite. He can also be found cruising down the backside of the mountain or just about anywhere on the mountain. He looks forward to his upcoming races and has even been known to tackle a few jumps.

Thad doesn’t listen to music while skiing. Instead, he’d rather take in his surroundings. He thought it would be cool to become a ski patrol so that he could respond to the radio and help people out on the mountain.

You can tell Thad has a kind heart, and he loves helping people. He seems to know just about everyone around, and he was front and center during the gentle banter at lunchtime in the lodge before catching more runs to finish out the day.

And for the record, Thad is a Bobcat fan, which always adds an interesting twist to the friendship these two athletes have formed with one another.

Both athletes maintain a busy and regular practice schedule hitting the slopes every Monday from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. and bowling two to three games every Wednesday. It’s been incorporated into their treatment plans and individual goals. They participate alongside many of their peers, and AWARE case managers work with providers like Silver Bow DD Council to ensure they are given opportunities to grow and excel in life.

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