Awards and Recognitions

by | Jul 13, 2016 |


Athletes inducted into the Hall of Fame are selected based on participation, sportsmanship, training hours and attitude towards the Special Olympics program.  Nominations are accepted at the beginning of each year, and announcements are made at the Opening Ceremonies of the Summer Games.  Click here for a listing of athletes from 1977-present inducted into the Hall of Fame. The Special Olympics Kansas Hall of Fame is located at the Headquarters office in Mission.

2016 Hall of Fame

Aaron Gudenkauf 2016Chevi Peters 2016James Franklin 2016Mickey Algaier 2016
Topeka Shawnee
New Hope Bulldogs
Topeka Shawnee
Garden City Tigers


Most Inspirational Athletes (MIA’s) are selected at three of the state competitions, John L. Cassidy Heartland Winter Games, State Basketball & Cheerleading Tournament and Summer Games. Basketball and Summer Games athletes are nominated by their coaches at the competition, and then selected by a panel of judges. Winter Games athletes come from several states and therefore the MIA is selected by a panel of judges at the event.

The most recent MIA’s are:

leora-kennedy-headshot Summer Games 2016
Leora Kennedy, Dodge City Dodgers

State Basketball and Cheerleading 2017
Tristian Smith, Harvey County Wildcats

2016 Making a Difference Award Winners 

It is an honor to recognize outstanding service to our organization, and these winners represent the best of the best. They have made a significant difference in the lives of our athletes, in our programming, and in our mission.  SOKS is proud to recognize their accomplishments.

Making A Difference Awards-State Winners 2016

Coach of the Year                                               Sue Elliot                                              Olathe Trailblazers

Business of the Year                                          Kansas State Council, Knights of Columbus

Family of the Year                                               Ryan Prothe Family                           Gardner Gold

Special Event Volunteer of the Year              Denise Mentlick                                 West Region

Program Volunteer of the Year                       Michelle Leatherwood                      Dodge City Dogers

Congratulations also to the Regional Winners who were also entered in to the State Competition:
Coach Joy Riebel, Allen County and ANW Coop, Southeast Region
Businesses: KC Supply Company, Metro Region;
                      Pittsburg State Athletic Department, Southeast Region
Families:      Schnee Family, Manhattan Sports Club, North Central Region;
                      Jerad Leatherman Family, New Hope Bulldogs, Southeast Region
Program Volunteers:         Rachel and Adam Rolf, Douglas County Young Athletes, Metro Region;
                                              Mick Tedlock, SEK Interlocal, Southeast Region
Special Event Volunteers: Melanie Busse, Winter Games and Fall Sports Classic GMT member, Metro Region;
                                              Ashley Previty, LETR, North Central;
                                              Darren Decker, Sports Memorabilia Auction, South Central

Thank you all for your time and dedication to SOKS!





Don’t see the name of someone you think deserves to be recognized and thanked?  Then please consider nominating them for an award this year.  For questions and/or to submit nomination forms contact Donna at, fax 913.236.9771. Nomination Forms and Awards Criteria are available under the documents tab.  Please download and save to your computer before completing the forms.  Nominations can be mailed in at any time during the year.

Final deadline for 2017 entries is December 8, 2017.   Look in the right column under nomination forms to download the relevant form.