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Keith Patterson of Southwest Area named best SOMO coach

Each year, Special Olympics Missouri salutes those who have made significant contributions to the Special Olympics movement. Each area nominee is submitted for statewide recognition, and the overall winners were also announced at the SOMO Awards Luncheon. This year the winner is Keith Patterson.

If you mention Special Olympics in Neosho, Missouri, Keith Patterson is the name people associate to the program. Keith Patterson has been a long-time volunteer coach and is the driving force of Special Olympics in Neosho. Keith is well-respected and loved by the athletes, families, coaches and Area SOMO staff. Keith and his team of coaches organize the SW Area Basketball Tournament and Keith secures all the officials for the tournament. Annually, he coaches Basketball, Bowling, and Track and Field. He has successfully implemented Unified Partners into his program and has even been a Unified Player himself. Keith encourages his athletes to work hard on and off the field of play. When SOMO needed a Flag Football team at the last minute for an event in Arkansas, Keith jumped in to help and had his team at the game. Keith takes care of all the paperwork for the program and even though he has the smallest handwriting we have ever seen, he does a great job getting it all turned in. He works with the elementary and middle school staff to get their students involved in Special Olympics and is supportive of all area coaches. Keith makes sure his team can attend State events and has helped his local athletes who have had the opportunity to advance to USA Games in many ways. Keith was a Team Missouri Coach for the 2014 USA Games. We feel his long-term commitment, passion and dedication to the Special Olympics movement is worthy of celebration and recognition.

Keith will retire from his teaching career in May but has already committed to helping Neosho with bowling and basketball in the fall and with the SW Area Basketball Tournament.