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A Rewarding Part Of Life Sheri Duke and her husband James got involved with Special Olympics in 2000, and though she had no idea what to expect in terms of the people or the games, she never imagined it would become such an integral and rewarding part of her life. Often people don’t get involved with Special Olympics unless they have a special needs family member. Sheri, of Bloomfield, Nebraska, married James Duke in Yankton in 1992 and settled down with his three young sons. The youngest, Kyle, then three, was born with right-sided cerebral palsy and has mobility issues with his right arm and right leg. Up until he was about 11, he played regular sports with his brothers, “He played soccer, and he played T-ball and he played all those [sorts] with the other two boys. But as he started getting older,” explains Sheri, “and the other two boys started getting a little older, it just seemed to me, like it was more dangerous for him, because everybody was getting more advanced and Kyle was a very small child for a long time. I kept saying he’s going to get hurt because other kids Alissa Duke playing catcher Elegance Mannington Hand Crafted hardwood collection features premium quality, handsculpted and hand-?nished options for authentic artisan texture and beauty. Kyle Duke playing S.O. softball Kyle and James Duke at a S.O. softball tournament Larsen Carpet Laminate | Porcelain | Resilient | Hardwood HAND CRAFTED his age were twice his size. I was concerned — but he loved doing sports.” School coaches echoed her concerns about Kyle’s safety. “He’s a good ball player within the confines that he’s playing,” she continued, and Special Olympics presented an opportunity, “So why not let [him] excel in that avenue if [he] can?” On initially joining Special Olympics, Sheri remembers, “We got him involved in it, and my husband has never been one who could just sit on the sideline and watch as a parent. He always had to get involved and coach. So he started coaching when Kyle joined and I just kind of got involved in a chaperone role, helping out as needed and going along, and just making sure people got to where they belonged at the time they belonged, or whatever was needed. So we all just got involved in that manner.” Over time, the positive experience of Special Olympics became much more rewarding than she had anticipated. “I think I get even more out of Special Olympics than the athletes get out of it!” Sheri said laughing, “Walking into a room and getting a smile and a hug. And you could be having the worst day and someone walks up to you and gives you a hug, just because they’re glad you’re there. You know, that’s what it’s all about. You’re doing something for individuals who truly love the fact that you’re there no matter who you are, no matter 6”x48” planks with a lifetim 208 Walnut|605.665.2067 designed to coordinate with today’s déco Historic Downtown Yankton mannington.com | 1.800.356.6787 18vHERVOICEvJANUARY/FEBRUARY 2018 Retailer Imprint Retailer ©Floor Designs Copyrighted by Manning

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