Thousands given to support Special Olympics at MDS
The clients at Mesa Developmental Services lost no more than $25 worth of recycling materials they had been collecting to support Special Olympics due to a burglarly in early-March.
However, after a story reporting the crime ran in the March 11 edition of The Daily Sentinel, Williams and VanGundy’s Ampco, Inc. found thousands of dollars in recycling materials to replace the money lost.
“After reading the story in the newspaper, I was working and I realized we could help them,” said Robert Smith, a construction worker for Williams.
He looked at the aluminum insulation he was using to cover tanks of natural gas and realized that it could be recycled for cash rather than thrown in the landfill.
It took Smith and his crew more than two months to collect the scraps of insulation on the job.
It was taken to VanGundy’s who valued the material at more than $1,200.
Owner Randy VanGundy was impressed by the company’s efforts. He donated the proceeds of some scrap metal he had on the lot for an added $600 donation.
Williams and VanGundy’s gave an oversized check for $1,844.60 to the athletes at the Mesa Developmental Services Thursday morning.
“I just want to thank everyone for doing this for us,” said Olympian Ella Amigo gratefully as she accepted the check. She said the money would be used to buy new uniforms and equipment such as bicycles.
“I hope this lets them know that there are good people in the world who care,” said Susan Alvillar, public relations coordinator for Williams.
VanGundy said he hopes the donations show the clients how proud the community is of the Special Olympics.
More than 400 clients at MDS train for the athletic events. They raise money to compete by collecting recyleables at local businesses and selling handmade goods at the American National Bank Downtown Farmers’ Market.
Previously the program averaged about $15 per week from the sale of the recyclables. The money pays for incidentals such as entrance fees to the swimming pool, softball field rental or ski passes.
Since the community learned of the theft, they have stepped-up to help clients earn more money for training by giving donations and signing up for regular recycling collections.
“It’s been miraculous—the individual support that we’ve received,” said Melissa Atchley, Supportive Living Services coordinator for MDS.
The donations have almost been overwhelming, Atchley said, while explaining that the clients are putting a lot more time into the program.
“It’s just helping so many people and we thank them so much,” she said.