By Chris Fish
BREVARD -- Hundreds of athletes with disabilities will continue to participate in the Olympic games, thanks to the generosity of a local business.
On Wednesday, Aug. 28, BBA Aviation, parent company of Aircraft Service International Group in Melbourne, donated $10,000 to Brevard Special Olympics during a ceremony at the Melbourne International Airport terminal atrium.
The $10,000 donation is equal to a quarter of the Brevard Special Olympics annual budget, said Lori Booker, a spokeswoman for the Melbourne International Airport.
"We are delighted when our tenants get this involved," she said. "It's amazing how much of their annual budget this donation is, and it's incredible that the organization is able to operate on such a small budget."
The Special Olympics is designed to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports, for individuals with disabilities, ages 8 and older.
This gives these athletes the opportunity to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage and experience joy.
The event is held in the summer and winter and contains a variety of sports, including aquatics, basketball, badminton, cycling, soccer and surfing.
Rick Cloutier, deputy director of aviation for Melbourne International Airport and a basketball coach for the Brevard Special Olympics, said the donation will be used to cover a large spectrum of sports for the athletes.
"The kids that I coach are overwhelmingly athletic," said Mr. Cloutier, whose son is an athlete for the Brevard Special Olympics. "The funding is unrestricted, and (it funds) several sports, including basketball, bowling, running and surfing."
ASIG General Manager Alton Adams, who has also been involved with Brevard Special Olympics in the past, applied for the donation through BBA's "Charitable Giving Committee."
Ms. Booker said that the donation is one of the largest Brevard Special Olympics has received.