Special Olympics: 'It's not like work', say Irish helping out in LA
– 29 July 2015 03:00 AM
THEY are marshalling the stadiums, serving the dinners and even directing the buses.
A small army of volunteers from all over Ireland are helping bring the expertise they gained during the 2003 Special Olympics in Dublin to help ensure the Los Angeles Games run smoothly.
More than 150 signed up to help.
Mary Shiels from Nenagh, Co Tipperary landed one of the bigger jobs as team leader for Spectator Services in the LA Convention Centre - she is in charge of making sure that celebrity guests, families and fans are looked after.
"You forget about the work part of it. It's great fun and it's brilliant mingling with people from all over the world," she said.
Medical Co-ordinator with Team Ireland, Julie Dwyer from Mallow in Cork, said everyone who helps out gets something back.
"I'm making sure that everybody has got the sunscreen on and drinking plenty of water," she said.
Ms Dwyer admits she has "a vested interest" because her daughter participates in seven Special Olympics sports, but she added: "You never go back from any of these games without having gotten something out of it."
Team Ireland includes participants from both sides of the border, and Brian McGuigan from Dungiven, Co Down says the comradery is everywhere to be seen.