MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan --
More than 180 Team Misawa personnel hosted the 31st Annual Special Olympics here, Oct. 14.
Naval Air Facility Misawa, Japan Air Self Defense Force and Delta Detachment 1st Space Company, Joint Tactical Ground Station and 35th Fighter Wing members volunteered at this year’s event, giving more than 90 athletes from seven different schools an opportunity to showcase their sporting skills.
Master Sgt. Salvador Felix, the 35th Operations Support Squadron air crew flight equipment superintendent, expressed his enjoyment of the comradery offered at this annual event.
“Special Olympics gives us a tremendous opportunity for volunteers to help strengthen our relationship throughout the region,” said Felix. “We wanted to continue this program this year to give these young athletes something to do and look forward to.”
Volunteers had the opportunity to spend quality time with the students, getting to know them better, and allowing them to shine.
“The only thing that matters is if people enjoy themselves, have fun and experience teamwork,” said Airman 1st Class Mallory Legear, a 35th Fighter Wing judge advocate military justice paralegal. “By one participant experiencing joy, it is an accomplishment in itself.”
Legear's experiences at her previous base and Misawa showed her how much she loves being out and seeing smiles on people’s faces, whether it’s at the Special Olympics or any volunteer event. She feels it’s fulfilling and fun to know she made somebody’s day and helped out.
“I’m helping out with the basketball event, and just to see young children to seniors shoot baskets and have fun is one of the best parts,” said Legear.
The Special Olympics gives participants and volunteers the opportunity to experience each other’s culture and build stronger alliances with our Japanese neighbors.
“I think we do really well being partners with Japan, and this event helps embrace it further,” said Felix. “We are U.S. Air Force ambassadors, and it’s important to demonstrate ourselves as positive role models and give back to the community.”