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Owner of Osoyoos bowling alley recognized for many years of supporting Special Olympics program
Whenever he has had a rough day or a rough week, Danny Tarasewich heads down to Kobau Lanes to meet up with his favourite group of athletes.
That would be the group of Special Olympians from Osoyoos and area who bowl at Kobau Lanes every Monday evening throughout the fall and winter months.
“To walk in here and see their smiling faces is unbelievable,” said Tarasewich, who was honoured by the Special Olympics B.C. this past Monday night at Kobau Lanes for his years of dedicated support and sponsorship of the Special Olympics bowling program in Osoyoos.
“Every time I walk in, I’m surrounded by hugs and smiles and it always makes me feel better. I get a hug from every single one of them every time. It’s a wonderful thing to be a part of and I don’t ever get tired of it.”
Lee Chic, the longtime regional co-ordinator for Special Olympics, said Tarasewich has been a dedicated and caring supporter of the program in this community and deserves recognition for a job well done.
Not only has he not raised the extremely low rates charged for Special Olympians to bowl at Kobau Lanes, but he’s also donated funds whenever local athletes fare well and have to travel to compete in regional and provincial competitions, said Chic.
“For all of the years most of you have been bowling here, you have paid exactly the same fees … and that is because of this man and his generosity,” said Chic to a crowd of roughly 30 Special Olympians Monday evening at Kobau Lanes
“When we sent our team last year to the coast, all of the bowlers got to practice for free all because of this man. We wanted to thank you for all of your support over the years.”
The plaque presented to Tarasewich Monday night was designed to show how much each of the athletes appreciate what he has done for them over many years, said Chic.
The plaque, which was signed by Chic and Dan Howard, the CEO of Special Olympics B.C., read: “Thank you for donating the use of your facilities to support Special Olympics in the South Okanagan. Your generosity has helped us to provide athletes with an intellectual disability a gateway to improvement, competence, acceptance and joy.”
Tarasewich, who also owns Vengeance Fitness located on the upper floor above the bowling alley, said he was approached about supporting Special Olympics when he purchased Kobau Lanes seven years ago and is thrilled to be able to help this wonderful organization and large contingent of special athletes.
“They have the biggest hearts,” he said. “When you can walk in every week and feel special because they give you a hug and tell you how much they appreciate what you’re doing for them, it really makes you feel good.”
Tarasewich shared his honour with Chic, who he says is the heart and soul of the Special Olympics program in Osoyoos and across this region.
“A lot of the credit has to go to Lee, who sets up the programs, gets the sponsors, organizes the committee and raises the money to run this program,” he said. “She collects bottles and makes sure local businesses are donating and sponsoring the program. What she does is just unbelievable.”
Being singled out for his support of the Special Olympics program is something he won’t soon forget and will cherish for a long time, said Tarasewich.
“I get more out of this than they will ever know, but I do appreciate it and it means a lot to me,” he said. “I will be sponsoring this for many years to come.”