Keesler welcomes 35th annual SOMS

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Trenten Walters
  • 81st Training Wing Public Affairs

Keesler is getting ready for the largest state-wide Special Olympics Mississippi event of the year, the SOMS Summer Games, held May 12-14.

This year Keesler welcomes back athletes from around the state for the organization’s 35th year.

“Our athletes look forward to the Summer Games at Keesler all year long,” said Sara Gunter, SOMS director of development and marketing. “They love getting to know the Airmen and other Keesler personnel, as well as having so many Keesler personnel and volunteers cheer them on all weekend long. They admire those that put in so much time and effort for this weekend!”

On Friday afternoon the athletes, their families and their coaches will arrive at Keesler and be paired with two of the 5,000 to 6,000 volunteer sponsors from the base and community. The sponsors will act as wingmen for the athletes during the games, making sure they get to events on time and their needs are met. Airmen and athletes will get to know one another throughout the afternoon and during dinner just before the opening ceremony.

The SOMS Summer Games will officially begin with a torch lighting ceremony Friday evening. On Saturday, the athletes will compete in a variety of sports, such as flag football, swimming, track, golf, powerlifting and more. The three-day event will conclude with closing ceremonies on Saturday evening and athletic teams will depart Sunday morning.

“We cannot thank Keesler and everyone involved in the weekend enough for investing in our athletes. All of your hard work, support and encouragement is greatly appreciated,” said Gunter.