Hall of Fame
The SOMO Hall of Fame was created in 1997 by the Board of Directors as a way to recognize longevity and achievement of athletes and volunteers within the organization. A voting committee, appointed by the SOMO Chairperson of the Board, is responsible for reviewing all nominations and voting on no more than two inductees in each category. To be inducted, finalists must be named on 75% of the ballots. A permanent display, housed in the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame in Springfield, features photos of each year’s Special Olympics Missouri Hall of Fame inductees.
CATEGORIES: Athlete and Non-Athlete
- Participation for at least 15 years with Special Olympics, with at least 10 of those years being with Special Olympics Missouri
- Nominated for State or Area Athlete of the Year
- Demonstrates behavior and conduct associated with integrity and good sportsmanship
- Participation for more than 15 years
- Medal winner at a National Games/World Games
- State or Area Athlete of the Year
- Participation in more than one sport
- Public education involvement as a Global Messenger
- Development involvement
- Outreach involvement
- Participation for at least 15 years with Special Olympics, with at least 10 of those years being with Special Olympics Missouri
- Not a present employee of Special Olympics Missouri
- Demonstrates behavior and conduct associated with integrity and good sportsmanship
Nominations will be sought six (6) months prior to the award being presented. They will be sought via the Special Olympics Missouri mailing list (Board Members, Area Directors, Monday Morning Memo and Newsletter insert). Previous nominees will not automatically be forwarded to the next award year. Individuals may be nominated in no more than five separate award years. Click here for an Athlete Nomination Form or a Non-Athlete Nomination Form.
VOTING COMMITTEE: The Voting Committee will be composed of a maximum of 12 members. The Hall of Fame chair will select members of the Voting Committee after consulting with the Chair of the Board and the President. This Committee will include board members, representatives of headquarters staff, field staff and previous inductees of which any one of will not be half of the total. Each person included on the Voting Committee shall have one vote. It will be this Committee’s responsibility to vote on the nominees presented.
INDUCTEES: No more than two (2) nominees from each category will be chosen in one year. A nominee must receive nine (9) or more votes from Voting Committee to be selected as an inductee into the Hall of Fame.
AWARD: A gold medal will be designed for each inductee and for display.
Duke Simmons (2014) has been a Special Olympics Missouri athlete for 30 years. In his career, he has participated in basketball, volleyball, track, softball, golf, bocce, bowling and soccer. In 1995, he was a member of the Team Missouri soccer team and traveled to New Haven, Conn., to compete in the World Games. He and his team came home with a bronze medal. Duke is the “face of SOMO” in his hometown of Columbia. He is a role model for the other athletes on his team, exemplifying the true meaning of sport through his actions as a gracious, determined and calm athlete who focuses on good sportsmanship. He is a coach’s dream as he is a top-notch listener, tries hard, is an excellent leader, respectful and responsible. As a team leader, he works to keep his fellow teammates focused and often times guides them in the right direction. When he is not training or competing in Special Olympics, Duke spends his time at the Veteran’s Hospital volunteering his time or helps at SOMO fundraising events. Duke is a self-advocate, and a dedicated member of the local People First chapter of Boone County. A major goal of the organization is to make sure people with disabilities are fully included in community life. Along with other members, he participates in local and legislative advocacy activities, meeting with local citizens and public officials to show that beyond disability, we are all people first. Fellow athletes look up to Duke and depend on him for guidance. He is an athlete, an advocate and most of all a friend to everyone.
Larry Elrod (2014) has been involved with Special Olympics Missouri for more than 20 years. He began his volunteer career as a SOMO basketball coach. Since then, he has been a Unified Partner in golf for more than 10 years, has been an event manager at area and state events and contributed to fundraising efforts at all levels. Larry has served in some of the most important leadership roles as a member of the SOMO Board of Directors from 1992-2001 and then again from 2004-2012, serving a total of 16 years on the Board. He is a past board chair, development committee chair and strategic planning council chair. His leadership in SOMO led him to be elected to the United States Leadership Council for six years, where he made an impact on the entire Special Olympics movement. He is best known as the “defender of the athletes” on the SOMO Board of Directors. In Board meetings, he always ensured any action taken by the Board was in the best interest of the athlete. He is well respected at the local, state and national levels. When Larry Elrod speaks, people listen. He is a generous supporter and is dedicated to the mission of Special Olympics.
Linda May (2014) began her career as a Special Olympics Missouri coach in 1974 as an adapted PE teacher with the state schools. She has coached at three World Games in 1987, 1995 and 1999. In 1998, she held the first SOMO Challenge Day for athletes with severe and profound disabilities. Through Linda’s leadership she helped start roller skating, cycling, bocce and floor hockey in Missouri. She was the first bocce sports director and has traveled to other states to train them to start their own bocce programs. Linda has coached and been certified in more than 21 different sports and is one of the first coaches to introduce Unified Sports in the early 90s. Linda developed a strong family-based program where she included the parents and siblings of her athletes as coaches, chaperones and Unified Partners. Since retiring from her adapted PE job at Trails West State School and with the population changing within the state schools over the years, Linda continues to coach her graduates, who are well into their 30s and 40s now and their parents are right there with her! Linda’s dedication to her athletes, pioneering the addition of new sports, helping other states grow their programs has made her an icon in the movement.
Danny Duvall (2013) trained and competed in Special Olympics for nearly 40 years. Over the years, Duvall competed in golf, bocce, softball, bowling, athletics, basketball, floor hockey and powerlifting. In 2006, Danny participated in the first ever USA Games in Ames, Iowa in bowling setting a Special Olympics record for single-game bowling at a score of 231. In 2008, he received the Special Olympics Missouri Outstanding Athlete of Year award and was recognized by the Kansas City Sports Commission with the Special Athlete Achievement Award. In addition to being recognized for several honors as a SOMO athlete, Duvall won the Bishop Sullivan Award through Catholic Charities in part because of his work as a Eucharistic Minister, usher and member of the Knights of Columbus. Danny was a global messenger and has made numerous speaking engagements and media interviews over the years to promote the Special Olympics movement. Duvall’s contagious smile, fun-loving attitude, giving heart and his spirit of sportsmanship made him a household name in Special Olympics Missouri.
Mark Bussen (2013) became involved with Special Olympics Missouri in 1997 as the coach of the West County Special Olympics team. He has two passions: sports and the great rewards that such activities bring and an overwhelming desire to make an impact on the lives of people. He always had a special connection with individuals with intellectual disabilities, so it was a natural fit for him to coach SOMO athletes. Through his leadership, the West County team is one of SOMO’s premiere programs with more than 40 athletes involved. He tirelessly supports SOMO through his charitable efforts, raising more than $15,000 in the annual car raffle. As a business leader, he has also built goodwill among several industries helping to generate nearly $50,000 annually. In 2005, Mark was recognized as the Outstanding Coach of the Year.
Ray Lauer (2012) has been involved with Special Olympisc Missouri for more than 20 years. He started as a deputy chief with the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department in the 1990s and was integral in the growth of the Law Enforcement Torch Run as the chair of the committee, a position which he held for seven years. During his time as chair, the funds raised by LETR were doubled. After his retirement in 2003, Ray served on the SOMO Board of Directors until 2011. He remains active with LETR and on the St. Louis Over the Edge committee as well as volunteering with the Polar Plunge. His involvement will continue as a fan of SOMO as his grandson Andy, born in 2008 with Down syndrome, looks forward to one day being a SOMO athlete.
Linda Wiederholt (2012) has been involved with Special Olympics Missouri for more than 20 years as a chaperone, Unified Partner, coach and volunteer. She has been a coach in the Kansas City area and coordinator in Park Hill since the early 1990s. Linda was part of the 2001 SOMO outstanding family and named the outstanding coach in 2007. As a member of the KC Metro Games Management Team, she is always the first to arrive and set up and the last to leave. She was selected as a National Games coach for Team Missouri twice including in 2010 as Team Missouri's tennis coach. Linda has also been influential in training athletes as a part of the Global Messenger program.
Beth Brokamp (2011) had been the very spirit of good sportsmanship and joy within Special Olympics Missouri for 24 years before finally being inducted into the Hall of Fame. Training in basketball, bowling, golf, and athletics (track & field), Beth has competed on every level in Special Olympics. That includes National and World Games. After winning a gold medal in athletics at the 1999 World Summer Games in Raleigh, North Carolina, Beth represented SOMO at Lobby Day in Washington D.C. in 2005. She has gone on to be named Big 12 Conference Special Olympics Athlete of the Year in 2010 and was also selected to be Grand Marshall of the MU Homecoming Parade in 2011. Beth is a beloved member of the SOMO family, a brave and determined athlete, and one of the biggest fans of the Mizzou Tigers around.
Daniel Schieber (2010) has dedicated most of his life to competing and supporting Special Olympics. For 30 years he has done what he does best: enjoy sports and love everyone around him. He plays basketball, softball, bowling, track & field, floor hockey, golf and aquatics. His hard work and dedication to improvement have led teams to earn sportsmanship awards and move up in competition levels. What is more outstanding and immeasurable than his athletic accomplishments are the sheer numbers of people Dan has influenced. Because of Dan, his family has taken Special Olympics into other parts of the state and opened opportunities for more athletes by coaching and working on planning committees. Simply by doing what Dan does best, he has influenced hundreds of individuals to reach out to others.
Frank O’Malley (2010) worked at Fort Leonard Wood in 1975 and is the man responsible for the 26-year relationship Special Olympics had with the military installation. Beyond this introduction, Frank has been instrumental in the development and growth of the sports program in Northwest Missouri. Most recently, Frank’s passionate vision for a self-sustaining organization led to the creation of the SOMO Endowment Fund (SEF). The SEF is now entering a capital campaign to build a “Training for Life Campus” for current and future athletes and coaches. His love, passion and “can do” attitude have influenced both the history and the future of Special Olympics.
Ralph Biele (2009) is the godfather of Missouri’s Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR). The Torch Run originally started in October of 1984 under the sole direction of Ralph. He raised $4,381. Since then, Missouri’s Torch Run has grown to achieve international fame. Since 2004, Missouri’s Torch Run has been a $1 Million Program. We are currently ranked No. 7 in the world in terms of funds raised annually. Ralph has also served on the Board of Directors of SOMO for many of the past 20 years. He was involved in the search for the new Executive Director of Special Olympics in 1991, a position which has been occupied by Mark Musso ever since. Ralph was the driving force in implementing the Board decision to restructure the organization in 1992, which was approved by the Board and implemented in December of 1994.
Chet Hollingshead (2009) has the most unique story in all of Special Olympics Missouri. He is the only athlete who has won a medal on the national level, competed on the world stage, and then made the transition to the next level as a key volunteer and Unified Partner®. Chet’s impact on SOMO is evidenced in the reception he receives throughout the state. Although reserved, Chet earns the respect of every person who comes into contact with him. At every state event, you will either see Chet executing some task in preparation or taking time to catch up with an athlete. There are few people involved with SOMO who do not know Chet or have not been affected by Chet in some manner.
Larry Stephens (2008) has been athlete first and foremost for the past 22 years, participating in aquatics, basketball, bocce, bowling and floor hockey. As if that doesn’t keep him busy enough, he is a Global Messenger spreading the word about SOMO. Knowing how important Special Olympics is to his life, Larry has dresses as Elvis and has raised money to take the Polar Bear Plunge the past three years. Law Enforcement officers, volunteers and his employer, University of Missouri Recreation Complex say that Larry stands out for the way he brings out the best in them.
Bea Webb (2008) is a mentor, a fundraiser, and a leader, but above all else, she is a coach. For 28 years, Coach Bea has been on the sidelines guiding hundreds of athletes to reach their potential. She never gives up on them and realizes her job of teaching life skills is an important lesson she can give through sports. Coach Bea has served on the SOMO Board of Directors where she has been an avid fundraiser. Her efforts in leading an annual Dare to Dream Golf Scramble make Sports Camp possible each year.
Shirlene Treadwell (2007) has been a leader on and off the playing fields for 27 years. She’s a determined competitor. Shirlene won a silver medal in golf at the 2006 Special Olympics National Games and has participated in 10 of the 19 sports Special Olympics offers. But it is her compassion and sense of humor that makes her an example to follow. Her living conditions have changed many times presenting tough times through the years. Special Olympics has always been there as a place for Shirlene to be her best. Not only does she compete, but her confidence has led her to becoming an assistant coach for basketball and softball team skills. Her team says she is encouraging and patient with them. These traits serve her well as an employee at the sheltered workshop in Columbia. Shirlene isn’t afraid to raise money for Special Olympics or to speak to large groups about what it has done in her life. The only part she doesn't see is what she has done in the lives of so many others.
Don Holbert (2006) has dedicated so much of his life to Special Olympics. Though it was his family who brought him to the program, he has continued with it because of his heart. He served on the area management team for 11 years, was on the board of directors from 1989-1997, was central area administrative assistant and then central area director for 5 and a half years. Even though he has physical disabilities, he has never been limited in what he has done. Don resigned from the board of directors to take a position on staff, not for the paycheck, but because he thought he could have a greater impact working directly with the athletes. Don has gone on to retire, but he’s never left the program. He trains and mentors new coaches and serves as a venue coordinator at as many events as he can make it to.
Graham Williams (2005) served on the Board of Directors as the Finance Chair and Treasurer from 1980 to 1995, then again from 1996 to 2004. Graham was responsible fore securing funding for SOMO through the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education in excess of $100,000 annually for many years. He has been a Summer Games Venue Coordinator, and presently continues to serve on the Finance Committee.
Gordon Barnes (2005) was not only a supreme sportsman, he was a supreme human being. He never let what might be a physical or mental challenge stop him from what he wanted to do. Even after knee surgery slowed him down a bit, Gordon showed up at an individual skills competition swinging a golf club. He was never far from a fundraising event to help do whatever was needed. What made Gordon especially unique is that he was a spokesman for Special Olympics for his entire career. Gordon passed on in April 2011, but his legacy remains.
Shirley Shattuck (2004) has had Special Olympics a part of her life since she was very young. She has been a SOMO athlete for more than 40 years. Whether on the playing field or spending time with friends, Shirley has a genuine sincerity about her that makes others feel good.
Jane Howell (2004) is a 20+ year veteran, Jane is not afraid to try new sports. She worked very hard to train and learn the skills needed to compete in team handball at the 2003 World Games in Ireland. Jane is a leader on her team, Jeffco Jets, and has been awarded Ms. SOMO Basketball for her positive sportsmanship.
Peggy Llewellyn-Neff (2003) started as a volunteer when she was at California Public Schools. She has now been apart of SOMO for 15 years. As a coach, Peggy always makes sure her athletes are ready for competitions. Her hard work and dedication earned her the title of Coach of the Year in 1996.
Arthur Murphy (2003) has been a part of Special Olympics since he was 8 years old. In his 28 years of involvement, he has projected a positive attitude, is always smiling, always helpful and always a true sportsman. He was recognized as the 2001 Athlete of the Year and was inducted into the Kansas City Walk of Stars. He shares a star with famous runner Jim Ryun.
Vicky Dannenmueller (2002) began her involvement with Special Olympics Missouri 22 years ago. She has worn many hats in the organization including area director, coach, bus driver and chaperone. Her dedication has been instrumental in the development of a new sports program in her community and in convincing schools to sign up new teams. She is currently the coach of the Rebels Independent team.
Greg Swinney (2002) is a giant in his efforts to make the world a better place for people with disabilities. Active in Special Olympics for 23 years, his family credits the program for the high self-esteem that gives him the confidence to be such an outspoken advocate. His list of accomplishments includes: 1998 Athlete of the Year, Hall of Fame Finalist for 2 years, Special Olympics Heroes Award, Assistant Coach and active athlete. Greg passed away in June 2012 and will be sorely missed by the entire SOMO family.
Joe Fuller (2001) Joe has presented the opportunities that Special Olympics offers to his students and their parents for 27 years. Joe has served as an area management team member, coached students from Pipkin in seven different sports, chaperoned athletes on trips and has been an active part in every fundraiser. In 1987, Joe was selected to attend World Games in Terre Haute, IN. And in 1999, was selected to coach the women’s basketball team from Missouri at the World Games in North Carolina. His team finished 2nd, bringing home the silver medal.
John Giboney (2001) had been training and competing for 16 years at the age of twenty-six. In addition, as one of SOMO’s fist Global Messengers, John gives many speeches each year on behalf of Special Olympics. Among his many speeches he has had the opportunity to speak at the Governor’s Mansion, an International Law Enforcement Conference, and the 2000 ShopKo golf tournament in Minnesota. John was one of the fist athletes in the Southwest Area to try his hand at golf. John achieved his ultimate goal in 1999, competing in the Special Olympics World Summer games in North Carolina. He brought home the bronze medal. In 1993 John was selected as the Outstanding Athlete of the Year for SOMO, and in 1994 he was recognized with that year’s inductees into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame.
Vana Galloway (2000) has been a volunteer and supporter of Special Olympics Missouri since its beginning in the early 70’s. Vana has been a coach, a volunteer Area Director, a member of the Sports Management Advisory Council, a Sports Director, a Venue Coordinator, a photographer and most importantly a friend to all Special Olympics athletes. As some of the first Area Directors in Missouri, Vana built and grew what was once Area 11 into one of the best areas in the state. She received the award for the “Area Director of the Year” in 1987. Her leadership in this role was the reason she became one the fist Area Directors to serve as the Area Director Representative to the Board of Directors.
Karen Mitchell (2000) started in Special Olympics at North Heights School in Amarillo, Texas, at the age of 13. She participated in track and field. The school only did local level competitions. At her first track meet, Karen was leading the race. She looked back, then stopped and called to the other, “Come on!” then waited until the caught up before starting again. . In 1981 Karen moved to Missouri and started participating in Special Olympics Missouri in 1982 with Area 16 in West Plains. In 1987, Karen was the only girl on an all boys basketball team. In 1989, Karen was selected as “Female Athlete of the year” for Area 16. In 1994, Karen was nominated to attend a training camp in Fort Leonard Wood for World Games and was selected to go to the 1995 World Games in New Haven, Connecticut to compete in the pentathlon. Karen won the bronze medal and the spirit of Special Olympics was never more alive than in Karen’s eyes as she ran to embrace her coach after her win.
Craig Closterman (1999) is an athlete in the Central Area and has been participating in Special Olympics for the past 25 years. In 1987, while at World Games in Notre Dame, Craig brought home the gold medal in the 400-meter and the silver medal in the 1500-meter. He participates in athletics, bowling and basketball with his true love being running. You can compare him to the Energizer Bunny – he keeps running and running and running. In 1995, Craig, along with his two sisters, ran the New York Marathon with the Achilles Track Club. 26.2 miles and 9 hours later, Craig crossed the finish line.
Joe McGuire (1998) has participated in Special Olympics Missouri for 16 years; Selected as SOMO Athlete of the Year in 1996; Received a Gold Medal at the 1995 World Games for Gymnastics; Participates in Gymnastics, Softball, Golf, Basketball, Track, and Bowling; Was the first Special Olympics Athlete to receive a varsity letter at North Kansas City High School; Was inducted into the Kansas City Sports Walk of Stars in 1996.
Jeffrey Ottenad (1998) participated in Special Olympics Missouri for 20 years; Selected as East Area Athlete of the Year in 1993; repeatedly won gold medals at the Summer State Games in the 1500M and 3000M race; was a medal winner in the 5000M race at the 1995 World Games. Also participated in Soccer, Basketball, Ice Skating, and Floor Hockey. Was nicknamed “Cheese” in high school because he smiled when he ran. Unfortunately, Jeff passed away in 2002. Everyone at SOMO misses him greatly. Even though he is no longer with us we still are inspired by his spirit.
Chuck Smith (1998) served Special Olympics Missouri for more than two decades; Served as the first executive director SOMO, Helped establish key competitions and fund raising events needed to grow SOMO in the early days; Has served on the SOMO Board of Directors. Chuck passed away September of 2004 and everyone at SOMO misses him and his enthusiasm.
Jamie Graham (1997) is a hero to many in the Special Olympics movement. He began competing in bowling, basketball, track, and gymnastics in 1975, and he was the first SOMO Athlete of the Year recipient in 1989. Through his thirties and then his forties, Jamie would announce to his teams that he planned to retire. Each time, his loyal teammates would change his mind and insist that they needed his leadership and spirit. He won a bronze medal in gymnastics at the 1983 International Games in Louisiana and was named Missouri Hotel Employee of the Year in 1988. Jamie is also a talented artist and author, having written and illustrated several nationally-published children’s books. He has auctioned his art to raise money for SOMO, he often delivers his drawings to children at local hospitals, and he sends drawings to victims of tragedy like those in Oklahoma City following the 1995 bombing. He has also served as a Global Messenger for SOMO. Dedicated, joyful and highly creative, Jamie is a perfect example of an athlete-leader.
Dick Spence (1997) embodies the spirit of Special Olympics. As a competitor, he has enjoyed the thrill of accomplishment. As a mentor in the organization, he has helped others experience the thrill for themselves. For more than 21 years, Dick has been active with SOMO, either as an athlete or volunteer. Since 2000, he has served as the athlete representative to the SOMO Board of Directors. He is employed by the Ozark Sheltered Industries in Pamona, Mo., where he has worked since 1982.
Jo Wood (1997) gave tirelessly during her tenure of service. Those efforts are recognized with her place in the Missouri Special Olympic Hall of Fame. She joined the SOMO Board of Directors in 2003 and says she hopes to continue educating families about the benefits of Special Olympics.