A mem­o­rable Christ­mas party

Tri-Con Gen­tle Gi­ants host an­nual hol­i­day bash

The Compass - - NEWS - BY MELISSA JENK­INS Melissa.jenk­ins@tc.tc

The en­ergy was con­ta­gious at the Tri­Con Gen­tle Gi­ants Spe­cial Olympics Christ­mas so­cial event.

Dozens of ath­letes, fam­ily mem­bers, town lead­ers and vol­un­teers from the or­ga­ni­za­tion were at the Bay Robertsl Li­ons Club last Thurs­day for the an­nual din­ner and dance, a high­light for many.

But what started out as a calm din­ner with some so­cial­iz­ing turned into a cel­e­bra­tion with ath­letes danc­ing up a storm and meet­ing the big man in red him­self.

But the night was more than a party. It was a night to rec­og­nize the ath­letes for ev­ery­thing they’ve done this past year. Many com­peted at sport­ing events, in­clud­ing swim meets, track and field com­pe­ti­tions, bowl­ing and snow­shoe­ing events.

Through fundrais­ing ef­forts, $31,000 was raised this year to sup­port those ac­tivites. The club of­fers an in­cen­tive to those who raise money, and those ath­letes re­ceived their in­cen­tives Thurs­day in front of the crowd of some 200 peo­ple.

For ev­ery $250 raised, each ath­lete re­ceived $25. Many of the ath­letes re­ceived a cheque from Gina Bishop, the club’s co­or­di­na­tor.

Most of the re­cip­i­ents cheered and raised their hands in cel­e­bra­tion. But one had more of a rea­son to cel­e­brate.

Gary Bishop raised over $3,000 for the Gen­tle Gi­ants. He re­ceived $300 for his hard work.

For or­ga­ni­za­tions like the Spe­cial Olympics, re­ly­ing on oth­ers is es­sen­tial to its suc­cess. The Gen­tle Gi­ants are no ex­cep­tion. And thanks to sev­eral do­na­tions made at the Christ­mas party, the group is ex­cited to have the sup­port.

The Bay Roberts Li­ons Club were the first to present, making a do­na­tion of $400 to cover the cost of the meals. The CBN Leg­endary Car Club Show and Shine event pre­sented Bishop with a cheque for $1,500, and the Car­bon­ear chap­ter of the Knights of Colum­bus pre­sented to Bishop with a cheque for over $4,700.

A large ap­plause fol­lowed ev­ery pre­sen­ta­tion, and grat­i­tude was given from all ath­letes in the form of cheers.

Christ­mas tunes like Snoopy’s Christ­mas were pop­u­lar for danc­ing, but a favourite that night was “The Mum­mers’ Song.” Half a dozen mum­mers ar­rived around 7:30 p.m. and danced along with the ath­letes.

Af­ter a few more songs, it was time for the grand fi­nale — Santa’s visit.

Each ath­lete was in­vited up one by one to chat with Santa, get some pho­tos and get a present. Treats were also pro­vided by the Li­ons Club.

At the end of the night, there were noth­ing but smil­ing faces and full bel­lies. And the club can’t wait to do it again next year.

PHO­TOS BY MELISSA JENK­INS

Mary Ellen Mur­phy dances with a mum­mer at the an­nual Tri-Con Gen­tle Gi­ants Spe­cial Olympics party Thurs­day, Dec. 10 at the Bay Roberts Li­ons Club.

Spe­cial Olympian Tyler Oliver de­cided to greet Santa Claus with a hand­shake be­fore ac­cept­ing his gift at the Bay Roberts Li­ons Club.

Santa got a nice sur­prise from Me­lanie Hyde who planted a kiss on him af­ter re­ceiv­ing her Christ­mas gift at the Spe­cial Olympics Christ­mas party.

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