Brig. Gen. Jason E. Kelly, Fort Jackson commander, and Travis Pringle, an athlete from Florence, S.C., light the cauldron outside the Solomon Center. (Photo by Robert Timmons)

The torch is lit: Special Olympics come to Jackson

Story, photo by Robert Timmons, Fort Jackson Public Affairs

“I am extremely excited about the wonderful turnout today to celebrate and kick off a great weekend of celebration and sportsmanship,” said Brig. Gen. Jason E. Kelly moments after helping Special Olympian Travis Pringle light the cauldron outside the Solomon Center to start the 2023 Special Olympics of South Carolina’s Summer Games.

“If you are looking forward to this weekend and you have plans to have an awesome weekend, make some noise,” Fort Jackson’s commander said to a raucous crowd that burst into applause.

The Solomon Center was rocking with Special Olympians, their families and Soldiers to witness the beginning of a weekend of games held on post and in the surrounding community.

Athletes, coaches, family members, volunteers and those cheering on the athletes gathered on Fort Jackson May 12-14 for the 53rd year.

According to the Special Olympics of South Carolina, the organization provides “year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes, and the community.”

The installation provided housing for 800 athletes and their families while also hosting aquatics, softball, bowling, Bocce and powerlifting events.

There were also 150 coaches and roughly 500 volunteers on post as well.

Not counted in those totals were the number of recently graduated Soldiers who danced, sang and gave the athletes a rock star’s welcome to Fort Jackson.