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. The Board members are independent voting members serving for a two-year term and can serve for four full consecutive terms.


Gary Wilbers, Jefferson City

Cathy Bumb, Kirkwood

Glenda Knebel, St. Louis

Ken Theroff, Jefferson City

Immediate Past Board Chair
Don Spears, Belton

Richard Banahan
, St. Louis
Cathy Bumb, Kirkwood
Jeanie Byland, Columbia
Dr. Phil Cook, Carl Junction
Larry Ewing, Independence
Roger Gardner
, Jefferson City
Brad Grill, Kansas City
Briana Haines, Kansas City
Jenna Kerwood, Chesterfield
Glenda Knebel, St. Louis
Jared Niemeyer, Edina
Susan Stegeman, Jefferson City
Ken Theroff, Jefferson City
Audrey Verret, St. Louis
Brad Wachler, St. Charles
Gary Wilbers, Jefferson City
Marty Willadsen, Springfield


Board Member Biographies


Richard Banahan

Chief, St. Louis Community College (retired)

Chief Banahan's career started with the St. Louis Metropolitan Police department in August 1973 and in his time in law enforcement he served as a police officer, detective and sergeant. He also served as a sergeant assigned to Chief Ronald Henderon’s office where he was one of his administrative assistants.

Banahan retired in 1998. He has been the vice president of the board of directors for Do The Right Thing for more than 10 years and a member for 15 years. The Do The Right Thing initiative was started in the St. Louis area in 1994 by the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department. Since then, more than 1,000 children have been recognized each year. The organization has its annual kick-off breakfast at St. Louis Community College at Forest Park, where the culinary chefs and students volunteer their time and effort to produce a world class breakfast and event. 

He has also refereed both high school and college soccer for the past 25 years and served as president of the High School Soccer Referees Association for the past 10 years. 

Banahan has been involved with Special Olympics for more than 25 years as a runner, volunteer and fundraiser. He started out on the second Law Enforcement for Special Olympics Torch Run when they ran from Columbia to Jefferson City. In 1992, he was selected by the Missouri Police Chiefs Association to be the co-chairman of the LETR. The structure that was instituted when he was chairman has continued to this date, which helped raise more than $2 million in 2013.
During the last 25 years, the LETR has hosted the St. Louis Police Department Trivia Night where more than $175,000 has been raised. 

Banahan received the John Michael Letz Award, which was established in December 1994 for the purpose of recognizing an individual whose unselfish efforts and contributions are directly responsible for the success of the Law Enforcement Torch Run® (LETR) for Special Olympics Missouri. 

During these years, his participation has gone from state LETR chairman, to regional coordinator of eight states, International Law Enforcement Torch Run Executive Council and then being elected to the LETR Hall of Fame in 2006. Induction into the Hall of Fame recognizes outstanding individuals who have demonstrated a sustained and significant contribution to Special Olympics and the SOMO LETR at the local, national and international levels.

He has been on the LETR Final Leg committee for more than 10 years, during which time he traveled to Idaho, Nebraska, Iowa, Japan, Ireland, Greece, Bulgaria, Austria, England, Northern Ireland, Ireland, Italy, Turkey and Canada where Special Olympics was introduced and featured. 

All this and he still considers it the greatest privilege because, "No matter how many times I have become involved with the athletes and recognized for my achievement, I always receive a lot more from the athletes than I give."



 Linda Brokamp

Global product manager, IDEXX BioResearch

More than 40 years ago, a doctor told Linda Brokamp that her daughter would never walk or talk and that she should look into putting her in an institution best suited to fit her needs. Brokamp didn’t listen to her doctor and her daughter Beth is now one of the most recognizable SOMO athletes, especially in the Columbia area.

Beth started SOMO through Columbia Public Schools in 1997, participated in many sports, became a Global Messenger and was eventually elected into the SOMO Hall of Fame in 2012. “At first my involvement was just as a parent, but soon after I became a volunteer as well,” Linda Brokamp said. “It sure grows on you!”

Brokamp said she has seen what the program has down not just for her daughter, but the other countless athletes over the years and she wanted to serve on the board as “a true honor and privilege and my small way to give back for all SOMO has done for my daughter and us as a family.”

Brokamp studied at the University of Missouri and at Stephens College with an emphasis on marketing and psychology. Now she is the global product manager for IDEXX BioResearch. She has served on the board of the Lutheran Children and Family Services and currently sits on the steering committee for the Training for Life Campus.

“I enjoy my interactions with the athletes and seeing them realize their potential both in sports and in life due in large part to the SOMO program,” Brokamp said. “The confidence and skills that they learn through Special Olympics is indeed life changing for the athletes, their families and their communities.

“It is pure joy to watch her and all the other athletes not only compete but to excel in sports and in life due in large part to Special Olympics.  As a parent, a volunteer and a spectator I gain as much or more than the athletes, I learn from them and am inspired by them.”


Cathy Bumb

Director, Remediation and Senior Environmental Counsel, Eastman Chemical Company

Cathy has 35 years of practice in environmental and construction both as a civil engineer and lawyer, working both inhouse and as a consultant. A graduate of St. Louis University with a BA in Physics and JD cum laude and Washington University with a BS in Civil Engineering, she currently manages the environmental libailities worldwide for the Eastman Chemical Company including managing the inhouse Remediation Group that manages all remediation projects for the company. She also provides legal support for major capital projects, including the retention of design, procurement and construction services along with claim resolution.

Though she does not have personal experience being involved with SOMO yet, her son has assisted with coaching and used the experience for his college entrance essay. To see the impact his coaching experience had on him, as well as the athletes' enthusaism for the organization, was inspiring. SOMO was the first organization that came to mind when looking for something to get involved in.


Jeanie Byland 

Executive Vice President, Mid America Mortgage

Byland has been involved with Special Olympics for more than 30 years as both a volunteer and a parent; her daughter Sarah participates in the program. Byland loves working with the athletes and served on the board from 2006-2014 and been an important part of the traveling souvenir team for more than 10 years.

Byland has a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Missouri. She is executive vice president for Mid America Mortgage for more than 31 years. In her free time, she has served on the CMSE Giving Gardens Board and loves traveling, making wreathes and creating music with English hand bells.

Her favorite memories with SOMO involve her daughter Sarah rappelling down the Tiger Hotel in Columbia as part of the Over the Edge fundraiser, watching her win a gold medal at the 2006 USA Games in Ames, Iowa and reach a bowling personal best at the 2010 USA Games in Lincoln, Neb. Byland competed as a Unified Partner in bocce at the 2014 USA Games in New Jersey.

“I never get tired of watching the athletes compete and seeing the joy on their faces when they receive their medals,” Byland said. “It is as if each medal they receive is their first. What they gain from Special Olympics is amazing. SOMO is a huge part of my life and my support team.

“It is my family!”


Dr. Phil Cook

Superintendent of Carl Junction Schools

In his first experience with Special Olympics as a volunteer 19 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 on the Board of Directors of the Missouri Unified School Insurance Council, is active in the Webb City Elks Lodge #861, the Webb City/Carl Junction Rotary Club, Pittsburg State University Alumni Association and his local Shop with a Cop program.  He also officiates basketball and is the trainer for the Joplin Basketball Officials Association
Cook is currently in his 14th 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 assistant 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 has five children: Lindsay, Andrew, Cooper,  Kenley, and Kylee.  He also has two granddaughters, Madelyn and Abigail. 



 Larry Ewing

Ewing is excited about and humbled by the opportunity to serve the Special Olympics Missouri mission as a member of its Board of Directors.  He previously served on the Board from 2001 -2009, including a stint as the Board Chair.  He looks forward to getting reacquainted with his SOMO family now that he is fully retired and has moved back to Missouri.
Ewing spent 34 years in Missouri public education including five years as a high school principal and 24 years as a superintendent of schools.  He retired from the Fort Osage R-1 School District in Independence.  During his tenure he served on the Missouri Association of School Administrators (MASA) Board of Directors and as the MASA president.  He served as one Missouri’s first representatives on the American Association of School Administrators Governing Board.  Ewing served on the Board of Directors for the Missouri United Insurance Council and as the Board Chair.  Quite involved in Rotary over the years, Ewing was the president of the Rotary Club of Independence.  During his time as Superintendent of Schools at Fort Osage, he received the Pearce Award, was named Administrator of the Year by the Missouri School Public Relations Association, and was named the MASA Superintendent of the Year.
After retiring from public education Ewing worked for Scantron as a Senior Client Program Manager serving the Alabama State Department of Education and the New York City Department of Education.  While at Scantron, he was awarded a Quarterly Core Values award for Trust and Integrity as well two Pinnacle Awards for Trust and Integrity and for Respect.
Ewing enjoys all SOMO games and special events because they afford him the chance to associate with the wonderful athletes competing and representing their teams and themselves.  He particularly appreciates those chances to recognize and thank the hard-working and dedicated coaches and the athletes’ families – all of whom make the games possible.  
Ewing has been married to his best friend, Joy, for over 45 years.  They have been blessed with three children and five grandchildren – Sam, Bennett, August, Maxine, and Everett.




Roger Gardner

Chief Culture & Communications Officer, Learfield

Gardner has been involved with SOMO since 2010 primarily through Jefferson City-based Learfield, a diverse media enterprise where he has served in numerous operating and management roles since 1982.  Learfield is a dedicated corporate supporter of SOMO.  The company has hosted numerous internal fundraising campaigns and challenges to engage its employees among its 60 offices nationwide.  Additionally, Learfield has hosted several athletes for lunch and activities at its Jefferson City offices, and former SOMO Board member and Learfield President/CEO Greg Brown participated in the 2012 Over the Edge event. Many Learfield employees volunteer throughout the year, including assisting with the 2012 state competition held at the University of Missouri, Gardner’s alma mater and Learfield’s flagship collegiate partnership of more than 40 years. 

He is lead representative for the company’s joint venture partnership with Levy Restaurants and its joint venture collegiate ticketing business with IMG College, (IMG Learfield Ticket Solutions).  He also oversees management of the prestigious Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup, which the company has been involved with for six years alongside the award’s founding partners, NACDA and USA Today.

With an agriculture degree, Gardner’s career start at Learfield was as a farm broadcaster before transferring to its Sports Division in 1984, when he assumed initial responsibilities for launching the Iowa State Network. 

“I'm pleased that the athletes get to participate and enjoy the experience and the competition.  I also appreciate the opportunity to be reminded, first-hand, of the love and dedication of the parents, trainers and other care-givers for the athletes," Gardner said about SOMO. "It's a display of tireless devotion and love, and it deserves my utmost respect.”

Gardner lives in Jefferson City, Mo., with his wife, Cheri.  They have two grown children, Sam and Andee.


Brad Grill

Attorney, The Grill Law Firm, LLC

Brad Grill graduated from St. Louis University and received his Juris Doctor Degree from the University of Missouri at Kansas City. He has been actively engaged in the general practice of law for more than 40 years in the state of Missouri, and has authored various legal publications, served on various committees and as President of the Platte County Bar Association. As a practicing attorney, he has received numerous awards, including the Judge James A. Moore Award given by the Lawyer’s Association of Kansas City in recognition of his efforts as a practicing attorney, “…who exemplifies generosity of spirit and a deep concern for others and who has truly ‘made a positive difference’ in the life of another person or persons.”

Over the years Grill has been very active in his church and has served in various leadership roles on numerous community service organizations, such as, The Boy Scouts of America, Lions Club and Optimist Club. In 1991, he was the recipient of the National Catholic Educational Association, Distinguished Graduate Award, awarded for exemplifying “the highest qualities of Catholic Education” and for rendering “distinguished service to the Catholic Church and United States of America.” He has worked extensively in the area of community services dealing with drug and alcohol abuse, domestic violence, and poverty issues and as Chairman of the Board of the Don Bosco Community Center, in Kansas City, a United Way Agency.

In 1990 Grill became a member of the Knights of Columbus and in 2000 commenced service on the Missouri State Council. After serving in numerous capacities, he was elected in 2012 as the State Deputy of the Knights of Columbus for the State of Missouri. Currently serving as Immediate Past State Deputy is overseeing the expansion of the partnership between the Missouri Knights of Columbus and Special Olympics Missouri. The Missouri Knights are being challenged to raise $1 million over the next five years in support of the construction of the Training for Life Campus. Under his leadership, the Knights in Missouri (with approximately 43,000 members) will be working hand in hand with Special Olympics Missouri in a team effort to support our special athletes.  

As a practicing attorney and having had the good fortune of being involved in numerous community service activities, including participation in Special Olympics Missouri activities, he looks forward to both the challenge and opportunity to make a difference in reaching the common goals of the Knights and Special Olympics Missouri. 


Briana Haines

Briana has worked for KPMG for almost 9 years and is a Manager and Service Leader in the National Design, Proposal, and Production Services (NDPPS) department. She leads a dynamic creative team in various office locations across the firm, including Kansas City, St. Louis, Minneapolis, and Denver. She is passionate about building an inclusive environment where individuals can bring their whole self to work in a collaborative and diverse space. She has active leadership roles in the firm’s national disability Business Resource Group (BRG), Abilities in Motion (AIM), and is an advocate for disability inclusion in the workplace.
Briana has spent the last 6 years volunteering for Special Olympics North America as part of the national golf team as a volunteer manager through the corporate relationship with KPMG. This involvement led her to be chosen to serve on the Unified Sports Committee for SOI as a Unified Sport Delegate (USD). She had the humbling honor of being the USD for Golf at the 2019 Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi. Briana has a passion for inclusion and believes that Unified Sports is one of the best ways to provide meaningful experiences for Athletes and Unified Partners across many sports. She feels that these Unified experiences naturally translate and bridge to experiences outside of sport and help promote inclusive behaviors in all life situations – at work, play, and home. 
In addition to her volunteer involvement with Special Olympics, she also volunteers for The Whole Person in Kansas City and for KPMG’s Family for Literacy, which partners with First Book to provide new books to children in low-income families.
Being involved with SOMO provides her the unique opportunity to play an active role in enhancing the Athlete experience from a board perspective on a state level. She is excited to bring her knowledge and resources from her national and international Special Olympics involvement to the local table for the Missouri Athletes. 




Jenna Kerwood

Property Tax Services practice leader at Brown Smith Wallace LLP

Jenna is a Partner and the Property Tax Services practice leader at Brown Smith Wallace LLP. She has lived in St. Louis most of her life, graduated from the University of Missouri Columbia. She is married with three sons: Aaron, 22, Austin, 20, and Adam, 17. Jenna is a sports enthusiast and avid fan of the St. Louis Cardinals, Blues and any other sport her sons are playing.

Jenna's motivation to be on the SOMO board started for professional reasons, but after spending time iwth another board member (Glenda Knebel), hearing firsthand her experiences at the Polar Plunge, Athletes Awards Banquet and attending a few SOMO events, she is sold on the SOMO mission. She is also super excited to witness the unconditional love and respect the athletes share and to experience the parents watching their athletes gain confidence and grow beyond their expectations.

Jenna expects her involvement with SOMO will likely be life changing. The challenges these athletes overcome is more of an accomplishment than anything she has witnessed personally. She is certain she will be completely awed and inspired by the experience!



Glenda Knebel 

 Glenda Knebel grew up watching the kind of impact Special Olympics had on her younger sister, who received a lot of joy from an organization that did so much for people with intellectual disabilities. Special Olympics helped her sister grow in confidence, social skills and sports all while having fun. 

“I’ve always been grateful for the impact this organization had on her and I now want to work toward providing those same opportunities for other athletes and family members,” Knebel said about wanting to serve on the SOMO board.

“My first experience with Special Olympics was over 35 years ago attending events to cheer on my sister but my sister and so many of the other athletes inspired me to embrace differences, find courage to try new and difficult things, have fun and support each other.  I look forward to working with today’s athletes!”

Knebel has spent the majority of her professional career – more than 20 years – with Express Scripts in various roles including human resources, product management and sales and account management. Before than she worked for the YWCA in (Albuquerque), America West Airlines (Phoenix) and Charter Communications (St. Louis).

As a native of Missouri, she received her bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in science from the University of Central Missouri. 

Knebel and her husband Joe have two children, Austin, 20, and Jordan, 18. 



Jared Niemeyer 

Athlete Representative

Jared Niemeyer is a Special Olympics Missouri athlete who has been participating since he was 9 years old. Currently, Niemeyer plays the following sports with SOMO: Unified softball, basketball, bowling and track and field. In the past he has played flag football and soccer. In the future, he said he hopes to get involved in swimming!

“Special Olympics has given me a lot of opportunities – it’s made me a better person,” he said.

Niemeyer is a 2011 graduate from Kirksville High School. In addition to working at his local Hy-Vee store, he is active as a member of the St. Joseph Catholic Church and Knights of Columbus. He has served as a state and national Youth Activation Council member and had remarkable opportunities because of Special Olympics, which includes: participating in the 2010 and 2014 USA Games in Lincoln, Neb. and Princeton, N.J., respectively; speaking at the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in June 2014; and as one of 14 Special Olympics athletes nationwide attending a “Unified Generation” program at the White House!

As a trained Global Messenger in addition to speaking at the United Nations and meeting the President, he has been afforded the opportunity to travel around Missouri and speak with different organizations about what SOMO is and how it affects his family.

“One of the things I shared when I spoke at the United Nations was that inclusion is important to becoming our best.   Opportunities are how we learn and become more than we thought we could be.  Special Olympics provides opportunities in sports; but then helps everyone to be better in other areas of our life.”


Susan Stegeman
President/CEO, Special Olympics Missouri

Susan began her employment at SOMO in 1990 as the Director of Development and has spent her career raising funds thru collaborative partnerships.  Knights of Columbus, Casey’s, Learfield, and MADA are key partnerships that grow and sustain SOMO annually.  She rose to Vice President – Development in 2013 where she worked with the development team to meet our strategic objectives.  Mission met her passion when she was working with the Law Enforcement Torch Run© and its agencies and volunteers.  Thru very strong grassroots initiatives, the LETR grew from $56,000 to over $2M annually.  This included establishing the Polar Plunge©, the Drive it Home Raffle and Over the Edge© – SOMO’s signature events.  Missouri LETR has been in the Top Ten ranking in the world since 2000!  She served for 6 years on the Executive Council of the International LETR Council where she co-chaired the Marketing & Development Committee.  She was inducted into the Richard LaMunyon LETR Hall of Fame in 2007.  SOMO is growing our program thru relationships with those who believe in our mission to transform athletes lives.


“SOMO is so much more than sports.  Health and Wellness and life-skills are initiatives that are central to our current Strategic Plan.  Building new partnerships, identifying resources and utilizing our Training for Life Campus will transform our program to serve even more athletes.  This is a great time to become engaged with SOMO and our athletes.”


She participated in the Special Olympics North America (SONA) Leadership Institute in 2016, representing the six states in the South Central Region.  Susan is a member of the PEO sisterhood, currently serving as Vice President of her Chapter.  She served on the Final Leg Support Teams in 2006 and 2011 to support LETR runners to the USA National Games in Ames and the World Summer Games in Greece.  She is not only a fan of SOMO, she’s also a fan of basketball having cheered two sons for sixteen years of playing hoops thru their collegiate experiences.




Ken Theroff

President & CEO of Jefferson Bank

Ken Theroff's daughter, Grace, has recently become active in Special Olympics activities. Through their experience, he and his wife Susie have been overwhelmed with the optimism and energy of the volunteers. When he was approached about becoming a board member it was an easy decision, "as I am drawn to an organization with such wonderful people who are involved at every level of SOMO."

Ken Theroff is a graduate of Westminster College. He currently serves as the President/CEO of Jefferson Bank and possesses 30 years of experience in the banking industry.

Mr. Theroff serves the Jefferson City community by volunteering with a number of civic and not-for-profit organizations.

"Our family has already gained a great deal from our participation in Special Olympics events. Grace looks forward to all of the competitions, and has made some wonderful friends. Susie and I admire the people who donate their time, talent and treasure to make it all possible."


Audrey Verret

Employee Engagement & Culture Specialist at Moneta Group

Audrey started her Special Olympics volunteer career in 2008 at a regional track & field competition in Washington. Since that time, she has served athletes in several states as a coach, volunteer program coordinator, games management team member, Athlete Leadership Programs mentor, and fundraising committee member. Audrey also volunteered at World Summer Games Los Angeles in 2015, World Winter Games Austria in 2017, and at the USA Games Seattle in 2018.

Her favorite role has been serving as a mentor in the Athlete Leadership Programs. “The ALPs program offers our athletes an immensely valuable opportunity to develop personally and professionally,” Verret said. “The training provides an inclusive platform for our athletes to grow, influence, and thrive in meaningful roles. My athlete-leader, Daxton, graduated from the Global Messenger training program in 2018 after two years of training. I learned more about life and what it means to be brave from Daxton than he could possibly have learned from me.”

In 2016, Audrey established a partnership between her St. Louis-based employer, Moneta, and Special Olympics Missouri. Since then, the firm’s Charitable Foundation has awarded several grants, provided volunteers for area competitions, and encouraged employees to participate in the Polar Plunge, Over the Edge, and Gold Medal Gala committees.

“Sharing my love for the Special Olympics movement with my Moneta family is incredibly rewarding,” Verret said. “It is wonderful to be part of a company that has invested in our athletes and remains committed to promoting inclusion across the community.”


Brad Wachler

Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics, Lindenwood University

Brad Wachler has served as the Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics at Lindenwood University since 2016.  He oversees Lindenwood's comprehensive intercollegiate athletics program, which is comprised of 27 NCAA sports, 28 non-NCAA programs, and approximately 1,750 student-athletes.  
In his first year at Lindenwood, his athletics programs experienced unprecedented success both on and off the field of play.  Lindenwood finished 6th in the NACDA Learfield Directors’ Cup standings, out of 309 Division II athletic programs, their highest ranking since joining the NCAA in 2011. Fifteen of Lindenwood’s 27 sports program competed in the NCAA postseason.
Wachler comes to Lindenwood after eight years at NCAA Division I Central Michigan University (CMU) where he served most recently as Senior Associate Athletics Director. In this role, he ran the day-to-day operations within the athletics department, and has vast experience in finance, strategic planning, and compliance/risk management.
Brad’s passion for Special Olympics began back in Michigan.  CMU has a very unique partnership with the Special Olympics of Michigan as its headquarters was located on campus and fully integrated within the University community.  “I have witnessed first-hand the positive experience and pure joy the Special Olympics, it’s employees and volunteers brings to each one of its athletes.  It is a truly special organization and I will do everything I can to support its mission and purpose for years to come.”
Wachler graduated from the University of Michigan in 1999 with a degree in exercise physiology and athletic training, earned a master's degree in sport administration from Indiana University in 2000, and received a law degree from Wayne State University in 2004.



Gary Wilbers

Owner, Ascend Business Strategies 

Gary Wilbers has been an entrepreneur and owner of multiple companies in the Jefferson City area for the last 27 years.  Gary was a pioneer in the wireless industry growing his company to 150 employees.  He is currently the owner of Ascend Business Strategies which provides Speaking, Coaching and Training services to businesses and organizations. 

Gary has served on the board for Special Olympics from 2008 to 2016, he was the Capital Campaign Chair for the Special Olympics of Missouri Training for Life Campus from 2013 to 2017.  Gary is involved in his community, giving time and resources to organizations such as United Way of Central Missouri and his local church.  Gary greatest passion is playing unified golf with Keith Lueckenhoff.  He and his wife Dana have three children Chris, Adam and Elle.



Marty Willadsen

Executive Vice President, 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.