The first week of November marked a special moment for Special Olympic athletes who reside in Oakland Park, FL. On November 5th, 2020, the Broward County Sheriff’s Office (BSO) and Duffy’s in Deerfield Beach teamed up to deliver meals to the athletes. The meals included burgers, fries, wings, mozzarella sticks & soft pretzels from the Deerfield Beach restaurant.
BSO has had an ongoing and long-standing relationship with the Special Olympics and its athletes for over 25 years. Duffy’s in Deerfield Beach is also a longtime supporter of Special Olympics as their corporate sponsor. The athletes were thrilled to receive the delivery from their friends and thanked them with handmade signs.
BSO’s Lieutenant Steve Feeley tells us of the delight his department feels in giving back to the community. Some view members of the law enforcement team as responding to 911 calls, but “we do more than that, we like to protect our community, and we also enjoy serving and enhancing the lives of our community members. We’re thrilled to be there for these athletes in more ways than one, our relationship with the Special Olympics is special, and we feel an honor giving back to the community. The Special Olympic athletes are very special to us”.
According to Special Olympics Florida, “The mission of Special Olympics Florida is to provide year-round sports training and competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for people with intellectual disabilities who wish to participate, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in the sharing of gifts, skills, and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes, and the community.”
Law enforcement officers are relentless supporters of the Special Olympics in Florida and have attended many events throughout the year. In 2020, due to the global pandemic, these events were postponed. Hopefully, in 2021 more of these events will start up again.
For instance, the most popular and anticipated one is the Torch Run, which is a state-wide torch run to benefit the athletes of Special Olympics Florida, where law enforcement officers carry the torch on a 1500-mile relay through 67 counties in Florida. BSO officers take the torch from the Miami-Dade/Broward County line to the Broward/Palm Beach County line.
Despite the cancelled events, BSO did not let the Special Olympians down; they showed up and delivered! While so many things are different this year, BSO made it a point to continue their longstanding tradition of supporting the Special Olympics within the possibilities allowed by the current safety guidelines for COVID19.
Maria Scudella-Beltran was born and raised in Bergen County, New Jersey, right outside of New York City. She moved to South Florida in 2004 and graduated from Florida International University with a bachelors’ degree in Marketing and Communications.
In 2010, she purchased her first home in the North Andrews Gardens area in Oakland Park. After several years of working in the retail industry, Maria took on a part-time internship at a marketing agency and continued her education through Walden University where she earned her Master’s degree in Marketing and Communications.
Currently, she works in Marketing and during her free time she enjoys spending time with her husband and traveling.