Special Olympics athletes meet, greet Dream Riders
LITTLE SWITZERLAND – Athletes from the Mitchell County and McDowell County Special Olympics were at the Switzerland Inn Monday, July 30, to meet the Dream Riders for the fifth time.
Dream Riders are bikers committed to celebrating the achievements of Special Olympics athletes and their willingness to persevere while overcoming challenges and stereotypes. A Dream Rider presented each athlete with a T-shirt and a medal.
“The group varies in numbers and professions each year,” said Sarah Hobart, Mitchell County Special Olympics coordinator. “But, they have always been so kind to our athletes.”
Michael A. Bozzuto, CEO of Bozzuto’s Inc. and founder of The Dream Ride Experience, said the event “has become a dream for everybody.”
The Dream Ride Experience began in 2001 with 12 motorcycles. In 2016 The Dream Ride Experience became the largest philanthropic endeavor sponsored by Bozzuto’s Inc. and The Hometown Foundation.
Bozzuto presented a check for $10,000 to Hobart and McDowell County Special Olympics Coordinator Patti Wilkerson for their respective programs. The Dream Ride Experience raised a record-breaking $1.55 million for Special Olympics in 2017, and more than $7.7 million has been donated to Special Olympics programs since 2001.
Each year, some Special Olympics athletes are selected to attend the Dream Ride Weekend in Farmington, Connecticut. This year, Mitchell County athlete John Hendricks III attended the event with his father the weekend of Aug. 3-5.