Keesler hosts 35th SOMS Summer Games

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Elizabeth Davis
  • 81st Training Wing Public Affairs

Keesler and Special Olympics Mississippi partnered for another successful Summer Games, May 12-13.

Keesler has worked in close partnership with state and local communities to host the SOMS Summer Games for 35 years.

“It’s that partnership between Keesler, the local community and the state of Mississippi which makes all of us successful,” said Col. Billy Pope Jr., 81st Training Wing commander. “This is just one more opportunity we have to celebrate that success and that partnership.”

The SOMS Summer Games is a combined effort from units across Keesler. The 81st Force Support Squadron prepared their facilities for athletes to compete and dine, the 81st Mission Support Group provided security and logistical support and the 81st Medical Group made sure athletes and volunteers stayed safe and hydrated.

The 81st Training Group Airmen were key to making over 500 athletes feel at home during the competition. Each athlete was assigned two Airmen sponsors who showed them around base, cheered them on and spent their free time together.

“I really feel like I made a new friend this weekend,” said Airman Joshua Ticer, 336th Training Squadron student. “I was surprised by the scale of the event, but it is so cool to see everyone involved and spending time together.”

The athletes came from across the state of Mississippi for the Summer Games, and many have been coming back for years. Stuart Brabham, Area 8 athlete, stated he has been coming longer than he can remember and named Ticer in his top three favorite things from the weekend.

“I loved golf, being outside and playing games with my sponsor!” said Brabham.