The Lee Family – 2018 Special Olympics Kansas Family of the Year
The Lee family has devoted many years to Special Olympics. They have worked hard to support their local teams and Special Olympics Kansas by filling a number of roles. They have been coaches, fund-raisers, athletes, advocates and friends. They are the kind of family that truly make a local program great.
Ed and Tonia have taken in a number of foster children over the years and have ensured that all of them have been active in Special Olympics. They currently have four athletes in the family with all four being active. Three of them attended the North America Softball Championships in Bismarck, ND in 2017. Justin and Jordan were on the Gold medal team and David played on team that was a silver medal winner there. Justin has been active in Special Olympics for over twenty years. Besides the sports that he competes in at the local, regional and state level, he has also competed in the USA Games in Omaha, NE in Power Lifting. David has participated in sports at the local, regional, state and national level as well. Jordan came to the Lee home in June 2017 and quickly joined in the fun. He has played softball for the Topeka Stars and has competed in bowling, volleyball, basketball and track and field. Last summer, Jordan played soccer for Team Kansas/ Missouri (MOKAN) in international competition in Chicago as part of the Special Olympics 50th Anniversary celebration. Jordan was also selected to play on an all-star team with nationally known stars and dignitaries to include Dr. Tim Shriver and numerous professional athletes. David and Jordan are also currently playing Unified Sports with the Washburn Rural High School Team.
The Lees are extremely active in Special Olympics. They have worked tirelessly to raise funds by serving on the Topeka Polar Plunge Committee, Supporting Tip A Cop and other LETR fundraising activities and working to raise funds for their local teams. Besides the support roles that they both fill, both are very active coaches. They coach bowling, volleyball, basketball, track and field, power lifting, and softball. Ed coached Bowling at the 2018 Summer Games in Seattle. Ed was also instrumental in securing the Washburn Rural school venues for the State Basketball Tournament in 2018 and again in 2019.
Tonia is a member of the Board of Directors for Special Olympics Kansas and was a coach for athletics at the 2019 World Games in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Their daughter Krista has also been active in helping out at SO events, fundraising and she has also coached many sports. Krista has also gotten her boyfriend Brandon Hatfield involved in coaching Special Olympics and her son Zane has become something of a mascot for the Topeka Stars teams.
Tonia and Ed are in it for the right reasons. They always put the athlete first and strive to provide them with the support that they need to be successful.
They have provided counsel and support to parents of athletes as they struggle to deal with issues that affect their families. They have helped others to file for and receive Social Security benefits, medical cards, and other needed services.
They truly are the family of the year.