“SPIRIT OF SPECIAL OLYMPICS” Volunteer of the Year 2016 – Ellen Norfrey
Special Olympics Indiana is pleased to announce Ellen Norfrey as the 2016 “Spirit of Special Olympics” Volunteer of the Year. Ellen is a proud member of the Bartholomew- Brown-Jennings County Program.
Our recipient has volunteered for people with disabilities since she was a teenager. Whether she was providing group activities or organized sports through Special Olympics, Ellen has always found a way to incorporate the “mainstream” into the lives of those with special needs and other abilities. She has a belief that everyone should have an opportunity to try something. If it doesn’t work out the conventional way, she will look for an adaptive alternative.
Currently Ellen serves on the County Management Team, is a Unified partner in horseshoes, a coach for several sports, a cheerleader to all, a mom to one (though many more call her “Mom”), a wife to her best friend, and an advocate for offering opportunities of inclusion to everyone.
Ellen leads a team of eight in a local fundraiser that exposes many at her place of employment to Special Olympics every year (more than 10 fundraisers have been held so far). She recruits volunteers to work fundraisers, be Unified partners and serve as coaches to help with the year-round activities. Ellen participates in the Polar Plunge, has designed a spreadsheet to help track statistics, fills out paperwork and helped to develop the county program’s current Athlete Council. She challenges all of us to be more informed coaches and volunteers.
Ellen, with the help from her husband, developed the basketball all-star competition to help break up a long season of practices. She has been the lead organizer of the local bowling tournament and has organized a Unified volleyball tournament the last two years.
Every week Ellen contributes something. She spends up to eight hours a week making Special Olympics better, richer and more inclusive. Whatever needs to be done, however it needs to be done, she finds a way to contribute. Her coaching skills have been recognized, and her leadership is always developing. Ellen does things everyone can see and things no one realizes needed done until it was done. She’s a volunteer who stands up for the athletes and other volunteers.
In 2010, Ellen was named the “Spirit of Special Olympics” Coach of the Year. She is the first person to earn two “Spirit of Special Olympics” awards.
Congratulations, Ellen, our 2016 “Spirit of Special Olympics” Volunteer of the Year!