Jamie Belong and Jennifer McIntosh were awarded for their athletics at the 18th annual Special Olympics Festival Dinner and Auction at Halifax’s Cunard Centre on Jan. 25.
Belong got the Doctor Frank Hayden award, and it was the first presented in Nova Scotia. McIntosh was selected as female athlete of the year for Special Olympics Nova Scotia. Special Olympics Lunenburg/Queens nominated them.
“I was so proud of nominating these two athletes and doing the applications for them,” says Betty Ann Daury in an email.
Daury is the coach and regional coordinator of Special Olympics Lunenburg/Queens.
When his name was called, Belong says he went on stage to collect his award.
Belong and his father went to the event in Halifax, and Belong wore a black suit for the occasion.
“I had a really great time,” he says about the evening.
Belong has been doing track and playing floor hockey since he was five. He’s in his 30s now. He says he prefers track to floor hockey so mainly focuses on that.
And when it comes to track, Belong says he likes the longer distances, such as the 800, 1,500 and 3,000 metres. He also runs relays.
He says he likes participating in sports because they teach courage.
Belong says he played lots of sports in high school, including volleyball, baseball and soccer.
“Pretty much everything that they had,” he says.
Even when Belong isn’t doing track and field or floor hockey, he’s still on the go.
“I like to get out and run and exercise. I like to power walk,” he says. “It’s good to get out and exercise everyday.”
When he’s not exercising, Belong says he enjoys many other hobbies. He likes going to yard sales, sketching pictures and watching movies.
Belong has a couple of jobs as well. He says he does odd jobs for the Region of Queens and helps at Penny Lane Enterprise.
As for his award, Belong keeps it where he can see it. The glass trophy lives on a shelf at the head of his bed.
“So I know where it is when I want it,” he says.
Emily Latta and McIntosh, athletes from the Lunenburg/Queens chapter, went to compete in snow shoeing in the Special Olympics National Winter Games in St. Albert, Alta. On Feb. 25.
They were set to do the 100, 200, 400 and 800-metre races. They were also slated to compete in a relay.
Daury accompanied the athletes as head snowshoe coach. Kody Latta went on the trip as assistant snowshoe coach, and Darlene Broome and John McIntosh went as mission staff.