Board of Directors
The Special Olympics Missouri Board of Directors is responsible for setting the direction of the organization. They formulate and establish policies and oversee the President/CEO of the organization. The Board also protects the assets and resources of the organization and develops goals to meet our financial needs to ensure the long-range financial stability of the organization.
Randy Reddick, Kirkwood
Phillip Cook, Carl Junction
Jeanie Byland, Columbia
Dr. Lee Ann Barrett, Boonville
Immediate Past Chair
Randy Boehm, Columbia
Charles Bernskoetter, Jefferson City
Greg Brown, Jefferson City
Robb Eichelberger, Boonville
Robyn Kaufman, Columbia
Dave Keune, Ellisville
Colleen Lamond, Columbia
Andrew Mundwiller, St. Louis
Bernard Simons, Jefferson City
Don Spears, Belton
Melissa Vighi, St. Louis
Lawrence J. Wadsack, St. Louis
Bea Webb, Kansas City
Gary Wilbers, Jefferson City
Marty Willadsen, Battlefield
Amy Wurst, Kansas City
Board Member Biographies
Dr. Lee Ann Barrett, OD
Executive Director, Missouri Optometric Association
Dr. Lee Ann Barrett first became a part of the Special Olympics family when she was approached by Zoe Lyle, then executive director of the Missouri Optometric Association. She was asked to attend an Opening Eyes Train The Trainer session in Mexico City. "That trip turned out to be one of the most gratifying experiences in my life," she later recalled.
After her experiences of growing with SOMO, Dr. Barrett has gone on to help SOMO grow. She has served since 2003 as the Clinical Director for the Opening Eyes program. That program, thanks to the support of Lions Club International, has put on six vision screenings at various Special Olympics events around the state.
"I have become friends with many of the coaches and athletes and look forward to seeing them," Dr. Barrett said. Athlete Kristina O’Neal actually gave Dr. Barrett one of her gold medals as a token of their friendship. Dr. Barrett had worked to provide her with prescription swim goggles to allow her to see the lane lines on the bottom of the pool. "It was such a treat to see her so excited after she accomplished her goals!"
She has been practicing optometry in Columbia since 1986 and has remained active in state and national professional associations. Three years ago, she took on the position of Executive Director of the Missouri Optometric Association in addition to her practice. She is active in Boonville’s Habitat for Humanity, serving on the family selection committee. She has also served on the City of Boonville’s Industry Development Authority.
Retired Missouri State Highway Patrol
Charles B. Bernskoetter has had a long history of helping out his community. He is an active member of the Missouri Knights of Columbus on the local and state level. Bernskoetter is responsible for designating the funds raised from "Contest of Concern," a springtime fundraising drive, to Special Olympics Missouri. Funds raised each year from this event are donated directly to SOMO. He also participates in the annual Tootsie Roll Drive for people with intellectual disabilities that collect funds for K of C Developmental Center at Cardinal Glennon Hospital and for local charities.
"The Knights' relationship with Special Olympics has grown over the years," he says. "I have attended and participated in the various sporting events around the state and I am proud of our support of this fine organization."
He has a bachelor's degree in Accounting from Lincoln University and a master's in Public Administration from the University of Missouri. Bernskoetter worked for the Missouri Highway Patrol from 1962 to 1996 years. He began as an accountant, served as first Information System Director and was Chief of Fiscal and Budgetary Services when he retired.
His volunteering does not stop with Knights of Columbus and SOMO; he also volunteers with Meals on Wheels, the Vitae Caring Foundation, his church, and serves on the Cardinal Glennon Hospital Advisory Board.
In his spare time Bernskoetter and his wife, Millie, enjoy their large garden and operating their beef cattle farm. They also enjoy traveling and spending time with family and friends.
President/CEO, Learfield Communications
Greg Brown has enjoyed a nearly 30-year career with Missouri-based Learfield Communications and its Texas-based operating unit, Learfield Sports. That unit launched in 1975 with the radio rights to the University of Missouri, a partner school still today. Under five years of his guidance, Learfield Sports experienced unprecedented growth and visibility in the marketplace, from representing approximately 15 collegiate institutions to now managing the multimedia rights and sponsorships for more than 50 universities and associations. He also launched an ongoing, company-wide community service campaign that has had an overwhelming impact on the employees and charitable organizations alike.
In September 2009, Brown transitioned from serving as President of Learfield Sports to a more expanded role as President and Chief Executive Officer for the entire company. He is a graduate of Truman State University, and he and his wife, Geri, live in Columbia with their two children.
Manager, Security and Parking Services - University of Missouri Health Care
Randall G. Boehm has been involved with Special Olympics Missouri's Law Enforcement Torch Run since 1987. He served as director of the LETR Committee for 10 years and is currently the Coordinator of LETR's Region 6 for the International Executive Council. He is also a current member and past president of the Missouri Police Chiefs Association.
“Presenting medals to the athletes at the summer games is an experience I look forward to every year," Boehm says. "I always leave inspired to do more."
Boehm received a bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice Administration from Central Missouri State University. He has also completed Northwestern University’s School of Police Staff and Command and the FBI National Academy. Boehm was a police officer for 33 years, 32 of which were with the Columbia Police Department. For the last eight years, he served as Chief of Police in Columbia, retiring in July 2008. He is now the Manager of Security for the University of Missouri Health Care Systems.
Boehm also serves on the Board of Trustees for the Boys and Girls Town of Missouri - Columbia, member and past president of the Kids First Optimist Club, Law Enforcement Coordinating Committee for the U.S. District Attorney's Office Western Division and the Columbia Police Foundation.
In his spare time, Boehm and his wife, Vee, enjoy spending time with their granddaughter and watching the Mizzou Tigers and the Kansas City Chiefs. They attend most home games.
Vice President, Mid America Mortgage
Jeanie Byland first became involved with Special Olympics when her daughter, Sarah began participating as a Special Olympics athlete in 1986. Since that time, “SOMO has become a vital and important part of both Sarah’s and my life.” This past fall, Jeanie participated as a Unified Partner in volleyball and received a medal of her own to put next to her daughter’s impressive 20-year collection.
Jeanie, who currently resides in Columbia, graduated from the University of Missouri with a BS in Education. By chance, her first teaching position was teaching Special Education in Texas. When it became evident that Sarah would need all of her patience Jeanie decided it was time to give up teaching full time. In 1981, Jeanie moved to Columbia and began a career in real estate lending. Currently she is the Executive Vice President of Mid America Mortgage, where she “helps people realize their dream of owning a home.”
Jeanie spends her free time volunteering with SOMO and Sarah’s activities with SOMO, playing in an English Hand Bell choir and enjoys traveling. She also serves on the Board of Directors for the Central Missouri Sheltered Enterprises.
Jeanie recalls one of her most exciting experiences with Special Olympics was attending the first-ever National Special Olympics in Ames, Iowa last July. “Seeing all of the athletes march in at Opening Ceremonies and realizing all their accomplishments and knowing how hard they had worked to get there was amazing beyond words. I still get chills when I think about every moment I experienced in Iowa.”
Superintendent of Schools, Carl Junction School District
In his first experience with Special Olympics as a volunteer 12 years ago, Phillip Cook says he got his first opportunity to witness the enthusiasm and excitement of the athletes participating.
Years later, Cook is no stranger to volunteer organizations. In addition to Special Olympics, he is a pillar member and on the Board of Directors for the United Way of Southwest Missouri, on the Board of Directors of the Missouri Unified School Insurance Council, and is also actively involved with the Webb City/Carl Junction Rotary Club, Pittsburg State University Alumni Association and his local Shop with a Cop program.
Cook is currently in his seventh year as superintendent of Carl Junction R-1 Schools. Coming from a family of educators, including his mother, father and brother, he started his teaching career in 1992 as a teacher in Fairland, Okla. He was assistant superintendent for his current school district from 2002-2005 and principal at Carl Junction High School from 2000-2002.
One of his best memories of his years with Special Olympics was during a State Championship basketball game he was officiating in Joplin, Mo. One team was much older and bigger than the other and was in turn winning the game. That didn’t change the attitudes of the athletes; he says they were all still having fun. "At one point, one of the bigger athletes picked up the smallest opponent and held him up so he could dunk the basketball," he said.
Cook is married to his wife, Stacy. He also has three children: Cooper, who is ten, Kenley, who is eight, and Kylee, who is seven.
Robb Eichelberger has been a board member since November 2007, but has been involved in Special Olympics Missouri since 1997. He has a long history in SOMO, competing in sports such as 3-on-3 basketball, slow pitch softball, bowling, track and floor hockey for the last 11 years.
As a board member, Eichelberger hopes to have more opportunities to represent Special Olympics athletes and develop new relationships within the organization. “I’m excited to make more friends, get to know them and have a good time,” said Eichelberger.
A highlight for Eichelberger during his participation with Special Olympics was competing at the 2006 National Games in Ames, Iowa. He won two gold medals for playing tennis, one in singles and one in doubles at the event.
Eichelberger hopes to witness and be a part of inspiring moments, like the one he experienced, with other athletes. “I enjoy seeing SOMO athletes happy and winning. If they’re happy then I’m happy too,” said Eichelberger. It is observing stories of accomplishment and sportsmanship that make working with Special Olympics especially worthwhile.
Eichelberger resides in Boonville, graduated from Boonville R-1 School and works at C&R Supermarkets.
Some of his other interests include watching all sports, particularly ice hockey, playing cards, weather watching and shopping.
Executive Director, Boone County Family Resources
Robyn Kaufman’s involvement with Special Olympics Missouri started many years ago when she volunteered as a coach in Columbia. She has continued her involvement by volunteering to help recruit athletes, promoting local events and fundraisers, and increasing awareness of Special Olympics.
Today Kaufman lives in Rocheport with her husband, Kory, with whom she has two daughters. One is a Pediatric Occupational Therapist and the other is majoring in Culinary Arts and is on the women's soccer team at Johnson & Wales University in Providence, RI. The Kaufmans share their home with their chocolate lab named Bailey.
Kaufman is the Executive Director at Boone County Family Resources. The agency serves more than 1,300 children and adults in Boone County with developmental disabilities living in their own home or with their families. Kaufman has worked with persons with developmental disabilities since 1982.
"Through these experiences, I have observed the joy and pride of Special Olympics athletes, the enduring friendships formed as a result of their participation in sports events, and leadership skills developed by participation as a Global Messenger," Kaufman says. "These are some of the many reasons I am honored to serve on the Board and promote the mission of Special Olympics Missouri."
Kaufman has been honored with numerous awards, including "The Marie Kovar Award," The Rotary Club’s "Outstanding Public Sector Employee" and the Missouri Association on County Developmental Disability Services (AAACDDS) 2009 Distinguished Service Award. Robyn is also a member of many organizations, which range from the Missouri American Association for Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD) Board of Directors to the Mid-Missouri Alpha Chi Omega Sorority Alumnae Chapter as well as numerous other charitable activities.
Kaufman likes to spend her spare time camping, gardening, cooking, traveling and spending time with family and friends.
CPA, Olin Corporation
In 2009, Dave Keune first became involved in Special Olympics as a member of the Finance Committee. This would soon mark the beginning of his ever-increasing efforts to be more involved in the organization.
"Watching these athletes compete reminds me of what athletics are supposed to be about. The confidence and courage that the athletes exhibit in the competition exemplifies why parents persuade their children to play sports in the first place," Dave said. "It isn’t for the slight chance of making millions of dollars, but for the character that is built and the lasting bonds that are formed."
Dave graduated from Saint Louis University with a Bachelor of Science with an emphasis in Accounting and Finance. He obtained summa cum laude honors. Some of Dave’s other volunteer works include: the Foster and Adoptive Care Coalition, organizing an Impact Day for his employer where associates stop working for one day to do community service, and opportunities that arise through his church.
Dave and his wife, Kristen, have been married since 2005. Kristen stays at home with their two young children, Cora and Avery, and their goldendoodle, Bailey.
Director of Games Operation, University of Missouri - Columbia
Colleen Lamond grew up in a small town where volunteerism was an integral part of the community. With heavy volunteer experience in high school and college, she began to focus her degree on an area that was truly rewarding for her -- Therapeutic Recreation.
While working for the Department of Athletics as the Director of Game Operations at the University of Missouri, Colleen had many opportunities to be in attendance of the many events that are put on for Special Olympics in Central Missouri. "Witnessing the athlete’s enthusiasm and happy spirit as they participate in a clinic parade or the 50-yd. dash truly brings joy to my heart and tears to my eyes as it’s a mental picture that will last for years with me," Colleen explains.
Other than working for the Department of Athletics at the University of Missouri, Colleen member of the Social Concerns Committee at Sacred Heart Catholic Church. She is a member of the National Association of Directors of Athletics (NACDA) and the National Association of Collegiate Women Athletics Administrators (NACWAA).
Colleen has been married to her husband John since June 21, 2008. She enjoys gardening, reading by the pool in the summer, running and spending time in the outdoors with her dog, Thelma.
Trial Lawyer, The Cagle Law Firm
As an attorney representing severely injured and disabled people, Andrew Mundwiller focuses on protecting his clients’ legal rights and financial well being. He never quite contributed to their personal lives as much as he figured Special Olympics could.
Andrew’s has served SOMO, since 2011. Andrew is greatly inspired by the organization’s athletes and looks forward to giving back to them.
As noted, Andrew is an attorney with The Cagle Law Firm in St. Louis, Missouri. His practice concentrates on representing individuals and families throughout Missouri and Illinois who have been victims of wrongful death or have sustained serious injuries.
Andrew has always taken pleasure in athletics and grew up playing soccer and ice hockey. While in college at Missouri State University, he played on the Men’s Varsity Ice Hockey team.
In his free time, Andrew likes to be with his wife, Hilarie, and two sons Vincent and Max. They also share a love for sports and enjoy rooting for the St. Louis Blues.
Serving as a board member for SOMO was motivation enough to fulfill his need to be more deeply connected with his clients. "I want to encourage people to feel good about themselves and see there is a wonderful life ahead despite perceived limitations," Andrew said. "The Special Olympics was, hands down, the organization which seeks to achieve this goal."
Senior Vice President of Operations, Shop 'n Save
Randy Reddick has always helped his community whenever he could. He has coached his children’s baseball and soccer teams, worked in their church, volunteered with the Boys and Girls Club, helped to build a house with Habitat for Humanity and rang a Salvation Army bell at Christmas. When his employer, Shop 'n Save, teamed up with Special Olympics Missouri, Reddick saw this opportunity as another way to give back to his community. Little did he know how much it would touch him.
At first, Reddick started fundraising for SOMO and gradually became more and more involved. He served three years on the East Area Resource Development Team and continues to work on fundraisers and the East Area Spring Games. His first year working at the Spring Games, he was assigned to work at the medal stand.
“I never experienced the level of enthusiasm, courage, drive and competitive spirit the athletes exhibited," Reddick says. "As impressed as I was by the athletes’ performances that day, the most special part of my first games was as I was helping one of our athletes onto the medal stand. She began to cry as she shared with me how this was her first gold medal she had ever won. It was then that I understood how important Special Olympics is in the lives of our athletes. This was without a doubt the day that I became hooked.”
Reddick lives in Kirkwood his wife Kristine. They have two children together: Jared, a police officer and Jessica, a school teacher. As a family, they love the outdoors. They like to spend weekends trout fishing on Lake Taneycomo or hunting on the family farm.
Reddick currently works for Shop ‘n Save, where he has been employed since 1979 and is Senior Vice President of Operations.
Director, Missouri Division of Developmental Disabilities
Bernard (Bernie) Simons is the Director of Missouri’s Division of Developmental Disabilities and has worked in the field for 40 years. He started his career as a direct support professional working in a center for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. It was through his work that he became aware of Special Olympics in Rhode Island. Over the years Bernie has seen many, many, people with various disabilities proudly participate in their states’ Special Olympics.
As the Director of Missouri’s Division of Developmental Disabilities for the past six years he has worked to redesign and strengthen the Developmental Disabilities Division in the face of numerous budget constraints. He has redesigned the regional structure, increased local case management to 88 counties (53 percent of the state), strengthened the quality enhancement system, improved communications with community providers, state associations and county boards and sponsored regional presentations on the accreditation process. In addition, he was instrumental in developing the Partnership of Hope waiver. More than 32,000 Missourians receive services and support through the Developmental Disabilities system and almost 600 people have transitioned from the Habilitation Centers to community supports and all admissions to the Centers have been discontinued.
In addition to serving on the SOMO Board, Bernie also currently serves on the Board of Directors for the National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disability Services (NASDDDS) and has done so for more than four years.
His prior experience includes being a Regional Director, Assistant Regional Director, Superintendent and direct support staff. He also worked as a consultant with numerous states on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid and U.S. Department of Justice issues. He received his bachelor’s degree from Our Lady of Providence and his master’s degree from the University of Rhode Island and a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies from Boston University.
Bernie and his wife, Janet, have been married for more than 33 years. Janet also works with people with intellectual and developmental disabilities as a Certified Developmental Disabilities Nurse. They have three daughters and four grandchildren, living in Maine, North Carolina and Rhode Island. In their free time Bernie and Janet enjoy traveling, reading and walking.
Captain, Belton Police Department
Don Spears is one of many representatives from Missouri’s law enforcement community who are active in the Law Enforcement Torch Run for SOMO. He currently serves as a captain in the Belton Police Department, where he is also the Commander of the Investigations, Administrative and Juvenile Divisions. Spears got his start with the LETR in 1988, and he has served as the Region 2 Coordinator for the committee that operates the LETR.
When he is not supporting SOMO’s fundraising efforts, Spears enjoys being part of the crowd at Special Olympics events. He recalled being thrilled as a spectator at the 2010 National Games in Nebraska. "I am amazed at the sportsmanship, camaraderie and intense competition," he said. "It is such an honor to be on the same field."
Joining the SOMO Board of Directors is another in a long line of service opportunities Spears has engaged in over the years. He coached little league softball and baseball, served as president of the Optimists Club in Belton and visited schools as one of the original D.A.R.E. officers in Missouri. Having undergone the F.B.I.’s L.E.E.D.S. training for law enforcement leadership and joined the Missouri Police Chiefs Association, Spears continues to find ways to be of service to Missouri and its communities.
He says he enjoys outdoor activities like gardening, hiking and scuba diving, and he "tries" to golf.
Attorney at Law, Lashly & Baer, P.C.
In 2011, Melissa Vighi began providing pro bono legal services to Special Olympics Missouri for leasing and bylaw governance matters. While working with SOMO’s administration and cheering on athletes at area games, she was moved by the courage, commitment, dedication, enthusiasm and energy of the SOMO organization. Melissa has since been inspired to lend her skills and experience to SOMO’s mission by serving on the Board of Directors.
Melissa graduated with a B.S., magna cum laude, in Business Administration from Marquette University and was initiated into the Beta Gamma Sigma Business Honor Society. She received her J.D., cum laude, from Saint Louis University where she was initiated into the Order of the Woolsack, served as Lead Articles Editor of the Saint Louis University Public Law Review and received an American Jurisprudence Award in Antitrust Law.
Melissa’s law practice at Lashly & Baer in St. Louis focuses on the representation of public entities and charitable institutions to foster real estate development, economic opportunities and tax-exempt financing and participation in governance, business, management and operational matters and contract negotiations.
Melissa has volunteered with the Junior League of St. Louis and served as a deacon with the Glendale Presbyterian Church, participating in numerous service and community outreach projects. She has been active on the membership committee of Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW) St. Louis. She provides pro bono legal services to non-profit and governmental organizations in need of her transactional experience.
Melissa is married to Pete Gullborg, a commercial litigator at the law firm of Pitzer Snodgrass, and together they enjoy taking care of their rescue dogs and learning how to ballroom dance.
Lawrence J. Wadsack
Attorney, Lashly & Baer PC
Like many St. Louisians, Larry was born and raised in St. Louis. He has been married to his wife, Sharon for nearly 35 years. Sharon is retired from teaching with the Parkway School District. They have two children, Robert, a St. Louis County Police Officer who lives in Ballwin, Missouri and Kristen Keune, who lives in Ellisville with her husband, David. Kristen and David have two daughters, Cora Leone and Avery Julia Kuene.
In the late 1970’s, Sharon began her teaching career in the field of special education. As part of this role, she assisted at the State Special Olympics summer competition. During this time, Larry had the opportunity to accompany her to the event and also volunteer.
"Prior to volunteering, I had minimal exposure to Special Olympics so I had very little knowledge or understanding of what to expect," Larry says. "However, after participating as a volunteer, I can honestly say how inspired I was just watching the athletes compete. I was amazed at the desire, the talent and the effort put forth by the competitors. I actually remember feeling somewhat guilty because I felt as though I was gaining much more from my experience as a volunteer than I was giving."
Shortly thereafter, Larry and Sharon began raising a family and their personal time available to volunteer began to dwindle. However, now that his children are grown, he did not hesitate when the opportunity to serve on the Board was presented.
His formal education has been undertaken and completed in three distinct periods of his life. He originally earned an Associate in Applied Science degree in criminal justice from the Junior College District of St. Louis before joining the St. Louis County Police Department in 1970. He was fortunate to have been promoted several times ultimately achieving the rank of Major before leaving the department in 1996. During his years with the police department, he attended college part-time in the evening and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice (with honors) from Truman State University. Also during this time, he had the opportunity to renew his experience with SOMO by becoming involved in the Law Enforcement Torch Run.
During his police career, Larry was fortunate to have been chosen to attend the United States Secret Service Dignitary Protection School in Washington, D.C. and the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia. He remains active today in the local chapter of FBI National Academy Associates, which includes graduates from law enforcement agencies in the Eastern District of Missouri and served as the chapter president in 1994.
While still a member of the police department, Larry decided to attend law school and enrolled in the Saint Louis University Law School evening program in the fall of 1992. During law school, he was a William Healy Scholar, (1993-1996); a member of the Order of the Woolsack, (1996); an Editor of the Saint Louis University Law Journal (1995) and the Recipient of several American Jurisprudence Awards, (1993-1995). In 1996, he graduated law school magna cum laude.
Immediately upon completion of law school, Larry accepted a position as an Associate with the Lashly & Baer law firm in St. Louis and in 2005 became a member with the firm. His primary practice areas include governmental and public institutions law. He has been admitted to the bars of the United States District Court, Eastern District of Missouri, (1997); the Supreme Court of Missouri, (1996); and the Supreme Court of Illinois, (1997). Larry is a presently a member of the American Bar Association; the Missouri Bar, the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis, the Illinois Bar, the National Council of School Attorneys, the Missouri Council of School Attorneys and the St. Louis County Bar Association.
Larry serves as a volunteer to support the Backstoppers of St. Louis and is proud to be a member of the Backstoppers’ Family Friend Committee. The Backstoppers is an organization that provides support and financial assistance to the spouses and children of local police officers, firefighters, publicly-funded paramedics and EMTs and volunteer fire protection units, who have lost their lives while performing their duty.
Recreation Therapist, JCP&R Special Population Services
When Bea Webb combines her passion with her energy and enthusiasm, great things are accomplished.
Bea began working with the Special Olympics in 1977, while living in Kansas. She began coaching Special Olympics in Missouri in 1980 and has been going strong every since. She served as an assistant coach at the World Games in 1987, a bowling coach at the 1999 World Games, a team advisor at the 2006 World Summer Games, and most recently Head Coach of Bowling at the 2011 World Games in Greece. Bea joined the SOMO Board of Directors in 2000.
Bea is one of four Recreation Therapists for the Jackson County Parks and Recreation Special Population Services. Serving the Developmental Disabled working in the community and sports. Bea also works as one of the six staff members at JCP&R SPS Day program for adults. She helps coordinates leisure and integrational activities for the participants.
In her leisure time, Bea enjoys camping, fishing and sewing. She’s is an avid follower of Chief’s football and is a member of a model train club that allows her to help build and run trains to scale. She is also a member of the Kansas City Sheltie Rescue, which serves to foster and redirect the lives of Sheltie dogs so they can be adopted.
Capital Campaign Chair, SOMO Training for Life Campus
Gary Wilbers has been an entrepreneur and owner of several small businesses in the Jefferson City area for more than 22 years, and the first business he ever built was a small wireless company with 150 employees. He is currently the Capital Campaign Chair for the Special Olympics of Missouri Training For Life Campus.
In addition, Gary is also very involved in his community, giving his time and resources to organizations such as the United Way of Central Missouri, Easter and his local church. Gary received his bachelor of science in business administration and marketing from Lincoln University. He and his wife, Dana, have three children Chris, Adam and Elle.
Vice President of Operations and Administration, Missouri Sports Hall of Fame
Marty Willadsen spent the first 15 years after graduating from Missouri Valley College as a high school teacher and coach. From there Willadsen was hired as an estimator/ salesman for a steel fabricator in Springfield, Mo. He spent 10 years there, the last seven as a project manager. In 2004, the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame offered Marty employment as Associate Director of Sponsor Development. Two years later he was named Director of Operations and on Jan. 1, 2008, he was promoted to Vice President of Operations and Administration. In that capacity, Willadsen oversees the day-to-day operations of the Hall of Fame and the administration of its employees. He is also instrumental in the planning and execution of the many events which the Hall of Fame hosts throughout the state.
His first experiences with Special Olympics came in 1978-79 when he served as an on-field volunteer at Special Olympics events while attending college in Marshall, Mo. His long-term relationship with SOMO started with his participation with the Price Cutter Charity Championship in 2004, coinciding with his employment at the Hall of Fame. Says Willadsen, "While I had very little interaction with the athletes themselves, it was the cadre of volunteers that impressed me. This was a group of people who were willing to do whatever necessary for the benefit of their athletes."
Marty and his wife Lori, reside in Battlefield, Mo. and are very active in their church, where Lori is the Day Care Director and Marty plays bass guitar in the praise band. He enjoys golf, hunting, picture framing and St. Louis Cardinals baseball. They have one son, Andy who also lives in Battlefield.
Vice President, Henry Wurst
After returning from graduate school at the University of Arizona, Amy Wurst had her first experience with SOMO volunteering as a basketball referee in 1985. She has since found herself captivated by the organization.
"My participation with SOMO has stood the test of time," said Amy. SOMO has had a lasting impression on her, and she has been greatly involved as a result. For quite some time, Amy has contributed to SOMO on a number of levels, having participated as a venue coordinator at local, regional and state level events, a volunteer at National Games, and has also had the opportunity to participate in the World Games in North Carolina, Alaska, Ireland, China, Idaho and Greece as an international volunteer.
As Vice President of Henry Wurst, Inc., her family’s printing company, Amy handles some of the company’s largest clients. Amy’s grandfather started the company in 1937 and now has production facilities in Kansas City, Missouri and Denver, Colorado. This year they celebrate their 75th year in business.
Amy also devotes a lot of her time to volunteering with her three therapy dogs, all of which are trained in animal assisted crisis response. She and her dogs visit hospitals, nursing homes, residential facilities, and at times travel to disasters to bring canine comfort to those in need.
In addition to Special Olympics, Wurst is a board member for the Humane Society of Greater Kansas City, National Animal Assisted Crisis Response and Cody’s Friends for Fire Safety. She also is an active member of the Volunteer Advisory Council for Children’s Mercy Hospital.
Amy continues to be enthused by her experiences with Special Olympics. "I love every opportunity I get to spend with athletes, families and volunteers," Amy said. "Special Olympics is an important part of my life and I am proud to serve on the board of directors of such a dynamic organization."
Board of Directors