STRIDE athletes recognized

Published 9:25 am Thursday, November 30, 2023

STRIDE is an organization that dedicates itself to working with individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities and has served Winchester since its founding in 2000.

Over a dozen individuals from STRIDE – which stands for Supporting Therapeutic Recreation for Individuals with Disabilities Everyday – and their coaches were present for a good cause during a Winchester City Commission meeting in November.

The participants, who partake in numerous sports and other activities, celebrated their accomplishments in the Kentucky Special Olympics competition.

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Winchester Mayor JoEllen Reed read from a Certificate of Service to the City that the organization was awarded.

“In honor of the outstanding achievements and notable performances through all the sports competitions, this award is presented to the amazing, extraordinary individuals involved in the Stride Program,” Reed read.

Darren Diguette, the executive director of STRIDE, accepted and spoke on the organization’s behalf.

“It’s an amazing group of athletes who have gone out. They practiced [and] they competed”, he said.

In September, STRIDE took three teams and 44 athletes to the Kentucky Special Olympics State Softball Tournament in Bowling Green.

The program took home two gold medals and one silver medal.

Yet that’s not all.

In flag football, the organization also saw two teams win gold, and another team win silver.

A pair of basketball teams competed, one taking home gold and another a bronze medal.

Multiple gold medal wins came when the team competed in bocce ball.

However, while the medals are celebratory, Diguette noted that he felt something else was even more important.

“The thing that all of our coaches are most proud of is that they represent this community very well,” he said. “There’s almost never been a time where we’ve had these folks at a tournament where someone hasn’t commented on their sportsmanship, on their attitudes, and on the way that they play.”

He also thanked the city commission for supporting the organization, going back to 2000 when they helped fund the building located on Maryland Avenue.

“This program has continued to grow and blossom with community support”, Diguette added. “We just couldn’t be more proud. That’s what these [athletes] deserve.”

Reed addressed Diguette and the organization and thanked them for representing Clark County.

“We want to say thank you on behalf of all of us and the city manager, our city attorney, and everyone for what you guys and gals do for this community,” Reed said. “Every time you move up here, you’ve got so many medals…We’re just proud of you!”