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TIAA Volunteers Build and Donate Equipment to Help Special Olympics Athletes Compete

Special Olympics Texas had an urgent request: Could TI retirees build and donate equipment modifications that would allow its athletes to compete in the upcoming Special Olympics Texas Summer Games next month in San Antonio?

The answer was a quick and resounding YES! A group of retirees who have volunteered with Texas Ramps assessed the need, figured out what was needed and got to work – recently turning out 20 soccer plows and 20 bowling/bocce ramps for Special Olympics athletes.

“A HUGE ‘Thank you’ to Texas Instruments and the TI Alumni Association for constructing adaptive equipment that will allow more accessibility for our athletes,” said Dalton Hill, associate executive director at Special Olympics Texas.

Special Olympics has launched a new initiative, FUNdamental Sports, focused on five areas of motor skill development, to improve not only sport skills but daily life activities. The adaptive equipment is part of this effort. The wheelchair soccer plow attaches to the front of a wheelchair and allows an athlete to move a soccer ball to the soccer net. The bowling/bocce ramp allows an athlete to place a large plastic ball onto the top of the ramp to roll down and knock over bottle bowling “pins.”  

“We are grateful for partners that join with us to create a more inclusive and accessible world,” Dalton said.

Special Olympics Texas is a privately funded nonprofit organization that seeks to change lives through the power of sport by encouraging and empowering people with intellectual disabilities, promoting acceptance for all, and fostering communities of understanding and respect.

The nonprofit provides year-round trainings and competitions for more than 58,880 children and adults with intellectual disabilities across the state. In Texas, there are more than 40,000 Special Olympics Texas volunteers.

Special Olympics offers competition in 22 different sports, including: aquatics, athletics (track and field), basketball, bocce, bowling, cycling, equestrian, figure skating, flag football, golf, gymnastics, kayaking, powerlifting, roller skating, sailing, soccer, softball, speed skating, table tennis, tennis, triathlon and volleyball.

Here are photos of our team at work and the completed items:

Gary Stopani cutting “pool noodles” for wheelchair soccer plows


Jim Milam cutting PVC tubing for the Special Olympics items


Bob Yu, Greg Boydston, and Kelly Gant (l to r) assembling PVC parts


Special Olympics’ member receiving finished items


Wheelchair soccer plow


Bowling/bocce ball ramp