Awards and Recognitions

SOKS Annual Awards

Each year Special Olympics Kansas recognizes outstanding individuals who contribute to the organization. As a non-profit we couldn’t do what we do for individuals with intellectual disabilities in Kansas without the support of thousands of volunteer coaches, event management teams, and partner organizations throughout the state. Winners for each category are recognized at the Summer Games opening ceremony each year.

Annual awards are given for the following categories: Family of the Year, Coach of the Year, Volunteer of the Year, and Organization of the Year. In addition, one athlete is selected and recognized as the Most Inspirational Athlete at summer games. Each year a group of outstanding athletes are also selected for induction in the SOKS Hall of Fame, and a law enforcement officer is chosen for the Richard LaMunyon Hall of Fame.

Click HERE for the 2018 Annual Award Overview for awards to be given in 2019.

Deadline to submit: Feb. 28, 2019

2018 Coach of the Year 
Word Doc

2018 Volunteer
Word Doc

2018 Organizations
Word Doc

2018 Family of the Year
Word Doc

2019 Hall of Fame  
Word Doc

Questions? Email Heather Waters;


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 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.

2018 Hall of Fame Inductees

Josh Alters (Topeka Shawnee) Josh has been part of Special Olympics for 33 years. He is an athlete and a Global Messenger. He has served on the KSLETR Executive Council and currently serves on the Special Olympics Kansas Board of Directors. His positive attitude and sportsmanship serve as a model for all athletes both on and off the field.


Kelli Bringle (Hutchinson All Stars) Kelli is an inspirational athlete who takes time to encourage others with words and hugs. She participates in summer sports but enjoys working on her skills with family and coaches throughout the year. She always has a smile and positive attitude and is always ready to help other athletes or her coaches whenever there is a need.


Janet Degan (Topeka Jr. Blues) This award was given to Janet in memoriam. Janet was an inspiration to her team, other Special Olympics athletes and coaches. She competed in almost every sport and practiced every chance she got. She wasn’t afraid to try anything with a big heart and open attitude. She gave every sport, every event and every minute her very best.


Casey Hostetler (Haysville Hornets) Casey has been a Special Olympics Kansas athlete for 16 years; she participates in sports all year round. She is an accomplished athlete who was named the 2017-18 Big 12 Conference Female Athlete of the Year. Casey is also a leader in her community. She works as a courtesy clerk at a local grocery store and volunteers for the ARC of Sedgwick County in her free time.


Ronald Jones (Wichita Independents) Ronald has been competing for 20 years with Special Olympics Kansas. He is always ready to lend a helping hand to his teammates and coaches and he balances competing in several events throughout the year with his full time job. Ronald works out three times a week to keep in shape and he is described as an all-around player with a great attitude.


Michael Kanter (Blue Valley Blue Streaks) Michael has participated in nine sports in Special Olympics Kansas over the last 29 years. His positive attitude and work ethic with his coaches, teammates, and others he comes in contact with is contagious. He is a leader on his team and his willingness to learn and grow as a person and athlete is inspirational to others.


Glenn Peetoom (Air Capitol Flyers) Glenn has participated in Special Olympics for more than 45 years! He likes to compete and encourage his teammates to do their best. When Glenn isn’t able to compete he still attends events to motivate his teammates and let them know if they are doing their best they are winners and should hold their heads high.


Jackie Smith (Harvey County Wildcats) Jackie was one of the founding members of her team in the 1980s. She has played a variety of sports throughout the years and still plays basketball today. Jackie is a great competitor and a positive role model for her team. She is always there to give an encouraging word or high five to her teammates.


Brady Tanner (Douglas County Jayhawks) Brady’s positive energy is felt everywhere he goes. He has been involved with Special Olympics for 29 years and he spends about 575 hours each year training for competitions! He participates in sports year round and he is the first Special Olympics athlete inducted into the American Indian Athletic Hall of Fame!


The Most Inspirational Athlete is selected at the state Summer Games each year. Athletes are nominated by their coaches at the competition and then selected by an independent panel of judges. Judges evaluate the athletes attitude and sportsmanship displayed at the games. The winner receives recognition at the Summer Games banquet and dance the year they are selected and lights the cauldron at the following year’s Summer Games opening ceremony.

The 2018 Most Inspirational Athlete
is Allison Nichols of the Topeka Jr. Blues team.


It is an honor to recognize outstanding service to our organization. These individuals and groups 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.

2017 Coach of the Year
Dave Swift, Blue Valley


2017 Family of the Year
Skylar Morgan/Erika Wilson family


2017 Special Event Volunteer of the Year
Cathy Butler, Topeka Jr. Blues


2017 Program Volunteer of the Year
Fred Beat, KS Air National Guard


(Not pictured) 2017 Business of the Year – Jeff Lavery, KC Supply Company


The Richard LaMunyon Torch Run Hall of fame was created to recognize outstanding individuals who have significantly contributed to the statewide success of the Kansas Law Enforcement Torch Run benefiting Special Olympics. The winner’s involvement must demonstrate a sustained and significant contribution to the achievement of the goals of the Kansas Law Enforcement Torch Run. The minimum requirements for this award are at least five (5) years of participation with the Kansas Torch Run, outstanding achievement in program development, organization and fundraising success.

Congratulations to the 2017 Richard LaMunyon Hall of Fame winner
Sgt. Dave Nienstedt of the Wichita Police Department.

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 Heather at, fax 913.236.9771. Nomination Forms and Awards Criteria are available under the Nominations Forms tab at the top of the page.  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 2019 entries is February 28, 2019.