Maui Business

Island Air Partners With Special Olympics for Training on Lāna‘i

September 11, 2014, 1:46 PM HST
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Nikilani Rojas: From Makawao, Maui competed in the 50 yard breaststroke at the Special Olympics USA Games swimming preliminaries. Rojas was among four Hawaiʻi athletes that competed in preliminary heats on Monday, June 16 at this year’s Special Olympics 2014 USA Games in New Jersey. The swimming competition was held at the Princeton University DeNunzio Pool. File photo courtesy: Special Olympics Hawaiʻi.

Nikilani Rojas: From Makawao, Maui competed in the 50 yard breaststroke at the Special Olympics USA Games swimming preliminaries. Rojas was among four Hawaiʻi athletes that competed in preliminary heats on Monday, June 16 at this year’s Special Olympics 2014 USA Games in New Jersey. The swimming competition was held at the Princeton University DeNunzio Pool. File photo courtesy: Special Olympics Hawaiʻi.

By Maui Now Staff

Island Air announced that it is teaming up with Special Olympics Hawai‘i to support the organization’s upcoming games this year.

Company executives say the sponsorship of Special Olympics Hawai‘i’s Lāna‘i program will provide local athletes with the opportunity to train and compete in Special Olympics for the first time since 2006.

Maui resident and Special Olympics Coach, Dylan Bode, will be flown to and from Lāna‘i in preparation for the upcoming Holiday Classic in November as part of the partnership.  During his visits, Bode will recruit and coach weekly bocce practices to prepare Special Olympic athletes on the island for competition.

Island Air employee Susan Wadas and son Michael Wadas have also volunteered to assist Bode with recruiting, practices and coaching responsibilities.

Fae Torres from Kahului, Maui competed in the 200 yard freestyle preliminary. Torres was among four Hawaiʻi athletes that competed in preliminary heats on Monday, June 16 at this year’s Special Olympics 2014 USA Games in New Jersey. The swimming competition was held at the Princeton University DeNunzio Pool. File photo courtesy: Special Olympics Hawaiʻi.

Fae Torres from Kahului, Maui competed in the 200 yard freestyle preliminary. Torres was among four Hawaiʻi athletes that competed in preliminary heats on Monday, June 16 at this year’s Special Olympics 2014 USA Games in New Jersey. The swimming competition was held at the Princeton University DeNunzio Pool. File photo courtesy: Special Olympics Hawaiʻi.

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“The fantastic support from Island Air has created an opportunity for our athletes to overcome their challenges on the field and in life,” said said Nancy Bottelo, Special Olympics Hawai‘i President and chief executive officer in a joint press release.  “The cost of transporting athletes and coaches from neighbor islands to competitions can sometimes be cost prohibitive, and the funding and support of companies like Island Air is truly critical to our work and mission,” she said.

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Island Air chief executive officer Paul Case also commented saying, “We are privileged and excited to be working with Special Olympics Hawai‘i to expand their mission and reach into the community, and also the opportunity for Island Air employees to get involved and give back.”

Organization executives say the partnership allows Special Olympics Hawaiʻi to extend its mission of providing year-round sports training and competition opportunities to children and adults with intellectual disabilities.

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