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Special Olympics, special occasion
Annual event draws raves
Effingham County High School’s Caroline Anderson helps a young Special Olympian on Friday at Josh Reddick Stadium. - photo by Mark Lastinger/staff

SPRINGFIELD —  The sun got some assistance in making Friday a beautiful day at the Clarence Morgan Complex.

The radiant smiles of more than 200 Special Olympics participants added to the day’s brilliance at Effingham County’s new state-of-the-art recreation facility.

“The complex was built by the citizens of Effingham County to have events like this,” said Clarence Morgan, executive director of the Effingham County Recreation and Parks Department. 

The games were conducted at Josh Reddick Stadium, built with wheelchair-bound athletes in mind, and adjacent fields at the complex.

“We were more than happy to host (the Special Olympics) and I thought it went awesome,” Morgan said.

Josh Reddick Stadium, funded in large part by local Houston Astros outfielder Josh Reddick, hosted games for the youngest participants and the Parade of Athletes. Each athlete walked or was pushed around the bases with teammates from his or her Effingham County school.

“I think Josh would be super proud,” Morgan said. “I know (Reddick Foundation treasurer) Jan Landing was. She was beaming.

“One lady said to me, ‘Isn’t it so nice to see those wheelchairs roll so nicely on this turf?’ That made me feel great and I had already noticed how excited the kids were as they were coming in. It just meant so much and was so special.”

Many of the hundreds of spectators had never seen