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It all started with a misdirected telephone call...

My name is James Nazzal, and I was the State Director for the 1st Wisconsin Special Olympics in May, 1970. It really began in August of 1968 when my company accidentally connected me to our Boston office instead of the Buffalo office. An employee in the Boston office excitedly told me how she had volunteered for a very special event: The 1st International Special Olympics. I had no knowledge of or experience in what she was talking about...but there was something in her voice telling I needed to know about this "Special Olympics" thing. She had me call Dr. Frank Hayden (I later understood that he was connected with the Joseph P. Kennedy Foundation - and Mrs. Eunice Kennedy Schriver.)

 

Long story short, on May 16, 1970, the 1st Wisconsin Special Olympics hosted 500 athletes, with coaches and parents participating in the grand games. We then took 75 athletes to Chicago for the "2nd International Special Olympics" later that summer.

 

Congratulations on your 50th year!!!

About Me:

Now retired and living in Arizona, I can still remember the trials, problems, and joys of being a small part of the "Special Olympics movement. As a 28 year old with 3 small children I knew there was something special I needed to do for others...Using the West Allis (WI.) Jaycees as the driving force, we put together a team of "unqualified but over-achieving young adults and created a dream that will last a lifetime. Without professional schooling or education in special education, I recall a meeting in Washington, D.C with 9 other state directors. Around the table (headed by Mrs. Eunice Kennedy Schriver) each state director was to give a brief presentation on our credentials and experiences of our particular states' Special Olympics of 1970. When it came to my turn to speak, and with no credentials to offer, I simply said, "I have no portfolio to offer...I'm just a simple man from Wisconsin; and in this room filled with such esteemed and learned leaders, I feel like a pair of b