SOMO honors athletes, volunteers and donors at 2022 Leadership Summit
JEFFERSON CITY – Special Olympics Missouri (SOMO) honored several of its most outstanding athletes, coaches, volunteers and donors at its 2022 Leadership Summit on Saturday, Oct. 22 at the Training for Life Campus. You can check out all of the photos from the event here.
SOMO athletes Anna McDaniel and Allen Tobin emceed the program. During the ceremony, SOMO held its annual graduation for the Athlete Leadership Program (ALPs). There were 13 ALPs graduates this year, including McDaniel and Tobin!
- Lynna Hodgson: Technology
- Anna McDaniel: Health & Coaching
- Lynn Shuffit: Health
- Kayla Dannenmueller: Technology & Coaching
- Allison Hill: Health
- Allen Tobin: Technology & Health
- Thomas Frost: Technology
- Amanda Koch: Technology & Health
- Charlie Phillips: Communications
- Shaquana Lowry: Technology
- Leah Shoemaker: Communications
- Drew Thompson: Health
- Bill Sampson (Posthumously): Communications
SOMO was so excited to have Daniel Smrokowski as a guest speaker. Smrokowski is a Special Olympics Illinois athlete and Sargent Shriver International Global Messenger. He is an award-winning and veteran podcaster, columnist and an acclaimed advocate for telling disability stories on his groundbreaking and global platform, Special Chronicles.
SOMO also announced its annual statewide awards: Outstanding Athlete of the Year, Outstanding Coach of the Year, Outstanding Volunteer of the Year and Outstanding Family of the Year. The area winners were selected in August, and these area winners were the nominees for the statewide awards.
OUTSTANDING ATHLETE OF THE YEAR:
Statewide Winner: Tanner Hrenchir
Central Area: Logan Hulett
North Area: Tanner Hrenchir
St. Louis Metro Area: Brent Kampert
KC Metro Area: Shaquana Hobbs
Southeast Area: Dalton Myers
Southwest Area: Bill Sampson (Posthumously)
OUTSTANDING COACH OF THE YEAR:
Statewide Winner: Leslie Franklin
Central Area: Krystal Sims
North Area: Dan Niemeyer
St. Louis Metro Area: Connie Pado
KC Metro Area: Lori Benson
Southeast Area: Melody Gardner
Southwest Area: Leslie Franklin
OUTSTANDING VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR
Statewide Winner: Aaron Shillcutt
Central Area: Genice Fisher
North Area: James Runde
St. Louis Metro Area: Sam Rauls
KC Metro Area: Aaron Shillcutt
Southeast Area: Josh Crain
Southwest Area: Sarah Bachand
OUTSTANDING FAMILY OF THE YEAR
Statewide Winner: Southern Family
Central Area: Baker Family
North Area: Davidson Family
KC Metro Area: Bryant-McCanse/Harrelson Family
Southwest Area: Southern Family
The ceremony continued with SOMO officially inducting its Hall of Fame Class of 2022. We are so proud to add the following three individuals to the SOMO Hall of Fame!
Tanner Hrenchir – Athlete | North Area
Tanner Hrenchir is the epitome of what SOMO is all about. Over the span of the last 31 years, Tanner has been a leader for the North Area athletes. He has had a tremendous impact on the growth of the program by serving as an advocate for the start of so many new sports, such as volleyball, golf and tennis. Tanner gives 100% of himself in every sport he participates in. His dedication to sports continues to grow every time he steps on the field, in large part due to the confidence he has obtained through his participation in SOMO. Tanner is one of the most decorated athletes in SOMO history. In 2010, Tanner was selected to be a part of Team Missouri for the Special Olympics USA Games in Lincoln, Neb. He dedicated an entire year to practicing and training to better himself for the week-long Games. It all paid off as he came home with a silver and bronze medal, along with two fourth place finishes. A few years later, Tanner was selected to compete on Team Missouri’s flag football team for the 2014 USA Games in New Jersey. Most recently, Tanner was Team Missouri’s lone powerlifter at the 2022 USA Games in Orlando, Fla. He came home with a gold, two silvers and one bronze medal.
Simon Caldwell – Athlete | North Area
Simon Caldwell has been involved with SOMO for 21 years. It’s safe to say he’s made the most of his time with SOMO! Simon graduated from Savannah High School in 2006. Since then, his SOMO career has flourished. Simon has competed in several sports, including basketball, flag football and tennis. Simon’s tennis skills took him all the way to the 2010 Special Olympics USA Games in Lincoln, Neb. He earned a gold medal in men’s singles! In 2014, Simon was back at the USA Games in New Jersey. He competed in modified flag football for Team Missouri. Four years later, Simon participated in his third USA Games in Seattle, Wash. He competed in singles and doubles tennis! When Simon is not training or competing, he works at Special Industries. He’s now worked there for 15 years! Simon has always displayed excellent sportsmanship on and off the field, and he has brought awareness of SOMO to his community. Simon is a former president of the Savannah Lions Club. He has been with the club for 12 years.
Jeffery Fugett – Non-Athlete | Southwest Area
Jeffery Fugett began volunteering for SOMO in 1999. He has served as the Missouri State Highway Patrol Troop D Agency Coordinator since 2005, working with fellow officers to raise funds and recruit volunteers for SOMO athletic events. He is the Region 3 Law Enforcement SOMO Coordinator for 23 counties in Southwest Missouri, where he coordinates and assists law enforcement agencies with torch runs, fundraising and other event planning. Jeffery has been on the State Summer Games’ Games Management Team roughly a dozen times, helping coordinate the final leg of the torch run, setting up equipment, setting up for opening ceremonies and coordinating law enforcement officials to award athlete medals. Jeffery has also served on the Polar Plunge committee since 2004, first in Branson and now in Springfield. He has obtained sponsors, set up events, recruited participants and even participated himself. Jeffery has been a Super Plunger at seven different Polar Plunges. A Super Plunger jumps into the freezing cold water every hour for 24 straight hours. That’s some serious dedication! Jeffery is also a Unified partner for softball and flag football. He competes on multiple teams with SOMO athletes and non-SOMO athletes. He’s also a SOMO coach. These roles have taken Jeffery all over the world. In 2007, he was chosen to run the final leg of the Law Enforcement Torch Run at the World Games in China. In 2010, he coached the Team Missouri basketball team at the USA Games in Nebraska, and he did so again in New Jersey in 2014. Most recently, Jeffery competed in flag football at the 2022 USA Games in Orlando, Fla. He helped his team earn a bronze medal!
The program concluded with the announcement of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Award of Excellence. This year’s recipient is Diamond Pet Foods.
The EKS Award of Excellence is deemed the highest honor the SOMO Board of Directors bestows on an individual or organization for its years of service and impact on the SOMO Program.
Special Olympics Missouri
Special Olympics Missouri (SOMO) is a year-round program of sports training and athletic competition for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. Thousands of athletes participate in 16 Olympic-type sports throughout the state. SOMO provides people with intellectual disabilities continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, and experience joy as they participate in the sharing of gifts and friendship with their fellow athletes, their family and friends, and communities across Missouri.
SOMO is proud of our financial health, returning 78% of every dollar back to program services. We are privileged to be recognized with these honors: Better Business Bureau A+ Charity Accreditation and Charity Navigator 3-star rating. Special Olympics was also recently named Morning Consult’s No. 4 most trusted nonprofit.
Thank you for trusting us with your donations, volunteer time and your goodwill.
Visit Special Olympics Missouri at www.somo.org. Engage with us on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube.