“Penske is proud to assist the USA Games in fulfilling its mission to provide an Olympic experience that celebrates the abilities and talents of children and adults with intellectual disabilities,” said Kevin Malloy, senior vice president of Penske Truck Rental.
Special Olympics is the world’s largest sports organization for children and adults with intellectual disabilities and the world’s largest public health organization dedicated to serving people with intellectual disabilities.
The Games, which began on Sunday and continue through June 12, provide opportunities to participate in 19 sports and celebrate inclusiveness and acceptance. This year’s athletes range in age from 16 to 60.
David Zimmerman, director of operations for the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games, described the Penske partnership as vital to the success of the Games.
“Penske is a very reputable company and exemplifies the values of the Special Olympics and the USA Games. The team aligned with us to help us host the largest ever Games in history and share the mission of supporting inclusiveness in our communities,” Zimmerman said.
Moved by the unfair treatment people with intellectual disabilities often faced, Eunice Kennedy Shriver was inspired to create Special Olympics to provide special needs children with a place to play.
Founded in 1968, the Special Olympics grew from a competition for 1,000 people to a worldwide movement with a goal to provide year-round sports training and Olympic-style competition for children and adults with intellectual disabilities.
Organizers hope the 2022 USA Games will expand understanding of the Special Olympics while promoting acceptance of individuals with intellectual abilities in communities, schools, and workplaces across the U.S.
Sixty-seven delegations from across the U.S. and the Caribbean are expected to take part in the games. More than 125,000 families, friends and spectators will be there to cheer on the athletes.
The Games’ footprint spans across 10 different venues including some of Orlando’s signature sports attractions: the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World, the USTA National Campus, Orange County National Golf Center, Rosen Aquatic Center, Boardwalk Bowl, and Osceola Heritage Park.
Athletes are expected to compete in the following sports: athletics, baseball, basketball, bocce, cheerleading, cycling, equestrian, flag football, golf, gymnastics, powerlifting, softball, soccer, standup paddleboard, swimming, surfing and tennis.
Partnerships and Volunteers Drive Games Success
Preparation for the 2022 Games began nearly four years ago, and the local organizing committee in Orlando has created corporate partnerships and recruited nearly 12,000 volunteers to execute the Games.
Penske’s Orlando District has been working closely with Zimmerman to make sure the USA Games were provided with the right number of units needed throughout the Games.
“The trucks will be used to move supplies and equipment from a 30,000-square foot warehouse to all the venues and eventually back to the warehouse after the Games. This includes the sporting equipment, volunteer supplies, logistics supplies and much more,” Zimmerman said.
“The trucks were recently used to deliver the swag (water bottles, T-shirts, hats, etc.) from the warehouse to the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex for the volunteer orientation session,” he said.
Zimmerman credited Michael Phillips, assistant district manager, and Holly Rohan, branch rental manager, for their quick response to the Games’ needs.
“Michael and Holly have been so responsive and supportive ensuring we meet our needs and goals,” Zimmerman said. “We have the perfect number of trucks to make the most efficient number of deliveries possible.”
“The capabilities of the trucks Penske provided to us is immense,” he said. “We have cargo vans that let us do the quick short runs. The 16-foot trucks with the cargo lift on the back and the 26-foot trucks allow us to concentrate on the big moves.”
Beyond providing trucks to the organization, Phillips, Rohan and others hosted a driver safety event for volunteers to familiarize them with operating commercial vehicles as well as providing some safety tips.
Left to right: Holly Rohan, Branch Rental Manager; Dana Hunt, Consumer Development Manager; and Michael Phillips, Assistant District Manager.
Associates from the Orlando District – some 10 to 20 strong – will serve as “Fans in the Stands” throughout the week as the athletes compete.
“We will bring the energy to make sure they know that people are there to support them,” Phillips said.