At Special Olympics Missouri, we have phenomenal athletes, coaches, volunteers and sponsors who give their all to this organization day in and day out. Because we want everyone to know that their dedication doesn't go unnoticed, we honor them at two end-of-year awards banquets. The 2015 winners are listed below with an excerpt from their nominations along with a video of their acceptance speech (just click the photo next to the description to play the video).


2015 Outstanding Athlete -- Jessica Jansen

Jessica Jansen is a SOMO athlete, but more importantly, she’s a leader. Jessica competes in SOMO sports year-round, playing basketball, bowling, track & field, bocce and volleyball. Not only is she an outstanding athlete on the court, she is a huge advocate for Special Olympics year-round as well.

In this past year alone, Jessica spoke at several Knights of Columbus meetings to ask for their support of the new Training for Life Campus. She also gave a speech alongside her Unified Partner, Ivy Tinnin, at the Shop ‘n Save Golf Gala.

Last, but certainly not least, Jessica used the courage and confidence she had gained from these experiences with Special Olympics to give a speech at her high school graduation! 

For more information on the 2015 Outstanding Athlete Jessica Jansen and to meet other finalists, read the blog post.

Jessica Jansen from the St. Louis Metro Area was named the statewide 2015 Outstanding Athlete for Special Olympics Missouri at the SOMO Summit Jan. 16, 2016, in Branson. Click the photo above to see the acceptance speech.


2015 Outstanding Coach -- Bobbi Roberts

Bobbi Roberts from the Kansas City Metro Area was named the statewide 2015 Outstanding Coach for Special Olympics Missouri at the SOMO Summit Jan. 16, 2016, in Branson.

Robin (Bobbi) Roberts has been a coach with Jackson County Parks & Recreation in the Kansas City Metro Area for more than 20 years. She coaches flag football, basketball and softball and is a Unified Partner in bowling. Robin started out helping with the JCPR teams, but it wasn’t long before she had her own teams within JCPR.

She is a wonderful motivator for her athletes and works hard to keep them focused so they excel in their sports. Robin is also an active member of the Miles for Medals planning committee. This annual fundraiser goes to support agency accounts/fan clubs to provide uniforms, equipment and State Games Assessments for the teams. 

For more information on the 2015 Outstanding Coach Robin (Bobbi) Roberts and to meet other finalists, read the blog post. 


2015 Outstanding Family -- The Dwyers

The Dwyer Family has been involved with Special Olympics Missouri for more than 10 years. They have served on planning committees, been Unified Partners, supported athletes and been amazing volunteers. Danny and Sue both serve on the Miles for Medals planning committee and Danny has been the chair for the past few years. Many of our agencies rely on the success of Miles for Medals for much of their year-round fundraising dollars.

Not only do Danny and Sue help organize Miles for Medals, but their daughters have become members of the planning committee. They run the Facebook page, help recruit riders and help on event day. Danny is also on the Polar Plunge committee. Danny and his company, Epic Electric, provide all the electricity needs on Plunge weekend. 

For more information on the 2015 Outstanding Family, the Dwyers and to meet other finalists, read the blog post.

The Dwyer family from the Kansas City Metro Area was named the statewide 2015 Outstanding Volunteers for Special Olympics Missouri at the SOMO Summit Jan. 16, 2016, in Branson.  Click the photo above to see the acceptance speech.


2015 Outstanding Volunteers -- Greg & Paula Burns

Greg and Paula Burns from the North Area were named the statewide 2015 Outstanding Volunteers for Special Olympics Missouri at the SOMO Summit Jan. 16, 2016, in Branson.  Click the photo above to see the acceptance speech.

This husband-and-wife duo has volunteered for Special Olympics Missouri for more than 15 years. They started out as day-of volunteers at local events, but staff noticed a great potential with both of them, so they were asked to be on the Polar Plunge committee, then venue coordinators and the relationship has grown from there. Paula and Greg are key members on the Polar Plunge committee, being there from the first committee meeting to the day of the event to set-up, tear down and wrap-up meeting.

Paula is the head volunteer at the Plunge in the registration tent and Greg is always right beside her at the events doing whatever is needed behind the scenes. Paula has served on the Ladies Night Out committee for three years and has contributed so many ideas to grow this event, which doubled in its second year. 

For more information on the 2015 Outstanding Volunteers Greg and Paula Burns and to meet other finalists, read the blog post.


2015 Hall of Fame Inductee -- Randy Boehm

On Jan. 16 in a surprise presentation in Branson, long-time volunteer for Special Olympics Missouri Randy Boehm was inducted into the Special Olympics Missouri (SOMO) Hall of Fame.

Randy Boehm of Columbia has been involved in Special Olympics Missouri for nearly 30 years in many different capacities, including the regional Law Enforcement Torch Run coordinator for Missouri, the regional coordinator for the international LETR executive council for five years, the Missouri LETR committee chair for 10 years and the board of directors chair for two years.

For more information on the 2015 SOMO Hall of Fame inductee Randy Boehm, read the blog post.

Randy Bohem has been involved in Special Olympics Missouri for nearly 30 years. His leadership in the Law Enforcement Torch Run (www.SOMO.org/LETR) led us to our first $1 million year in fundraising through Torch Run and eventually to our first $2 million year. Click the photo above to see the acceptance speech.


2015 Letz Unsung Hero -- Lt. Steve Davis,
Missouri State Highway Patrol Troop I

This acceptance speech is from Lt. Steve Davis of the Missouri State Highway Patrol Troop I, who on Dec. 10 was named the 2015 Letz Unsung Hero for Law Enforcement Torch Run in Special Olympics Missouri. Click the photo above to see the acceptance speech.

The John Michael Letz Award was established in December 1994 for the purpose of recognizing an individual whose unselfish efforts and contributions are directly responsible for the success of the Law Enforcement Torch Run® for Special Olympics
Missouri. It is our unsung hero award.

Lt. Steve Davis of the Missouri State Highway Patrol Troop I won the 2015 Letz Unsung Hero Award on Dec. 10 at the annual LETR Kick-Off. Lt. Davis has been involved in the Torch Run for 17 years; he started out as a runner.

He is involved in many local and statewide fundraising events and organizes a Torch Run before the Area Spring Games that involves all local law enforcement agencies and athletes in the Central Area.

For more information on Lt. Davis, read the blog post.


2015 Award of Excellence Recipient --
Knights of Columbus

The Knights of Columbus was given the Special Olympics Missouri Award of Excellence for its 2015's contributions to the program at the SOMO Summit Jan. 16, 2016, in Branson. Click the photo above to see the acceptance speech.

The Missouri state Knights of Columbus was recognized for its outstanding contributions to Special Olympics Missouri at the 2016 SOMO Annual Awards Luncheon Jan. 16 in Branson. Each year, the Special Olympics Missouri board of directors salutes those who have made significant contributions to the Special Olympics movement.

First honored with this award in 1991, 25 years later, that long-term commitment has extended beyond its initial purpose as the Knights of Columbus has committed to raising $1 million for the Training for Life Campus (www.SOMOCampus.org). The annual contribution of funds from the Knights, the volunteers, meals and honor guards they bring to competitions and fundraisers they put on such as Cosmic Bingo, Denim and Diamonds is what makes them not just a donor, but a part of the SOMO family.

For more information on the 2015 Award of Excellence recipient Knights of Columbus, read the blog post.