The Novotney family from Madison County is the 2022 Spirit of Special Olympics Indiana Family of the Year award winner.

Presented during the annual state conference, the Spirit of Special Olympics Indiana awards recognize the athletes, coaches, volunteers, families and Law Enforcement Torch Run officers who have gone above and beyond in their contributions to the Special Olympics movement. Area management teams submit nominations and the winners are selected by Special Olympics Indiana’s board of directors.

The following details were submitted in the Novotney family’s nomination letter from Area 6:

“The Novotney family has been involved with Special Olympics in their county for the last 10 years. Throughout that time, Brandon has been active as an athlete in bowling as well as track and field, and they have been thrilled to participate in Summer Games — the highlight of the year. The courage he demonstrates in negotiating his assisted walk events has been an inspiration for many other athletes in our county program due to his severe limitations in ambulation and his desire to push himself to the limit of his abilities.

“Kelly has been instrumental in the success of our county program. She is the secretary and the publisher of the county’s bi-monthly newsletter. She also manages the county Facebook page, keeping athletes up to date on practices and events in the program. She is one of if not the biggest supporter of the county Special Olympics program! Her enthusiasm is contagious! She encourages teamwork among the athletes and makes a real effort to connect personally with each athlete at practices and competitions, encouraging them to do their best. She has been the ramps bowling coach for the last four years and assistant head coach of the track and field program. She also makes sure all rules are followed.

“Doug has been the wheelchair coach on the track and field team for the last four years. He has taken on the responsibility of transporting all the track and field and bocce equipment to and from practices twice a week. But his contributions go beyond the typical coach. Doug’s care and concern for his athletes is inspiring. This is especially evident in all he has done to help the single mother of one of his wheelchair athletes who has recently had to start using a motorized wheelchair due to his degenerating abilities. Doug helped her research and purchase an apparatus to attach to her vehicle so that she can transport the motorized wheelchair, installing it and then making adjustments to it so that it could fit in her garage.

“All of this is done with an attitude of servanthood that is an example to all the athletes and volunteers in the county. Both Doug and Kelly are totally committed to doing whatever it takes to help the county program be the best it can be. And the Novotney family truly embodies the Spirit of Special Olympics!”