Gering farmer directs $2,500 to local Special Olympians

November 18th, 2020 | Chabella Guzman

Local farmer Davin Peterson recently directed $2,500 from America’s Farmers Grow Communities to the Scotts Bluff County Coyotes Unified Special Olympics Program. The grant is sponsored by Bayer Fund, which partners with farmers to provide grants to local nonprofits to help their communities.

Davin and Sara Peterson’s children have been volunteering with the Coyotes Unified Special Olympics Program since Sara got them involved.

Sara is a special education teacher in Gering and wanted her students involved with the program and her daughters joined her in the evenings.

“My girls (Kaitlyn and Natalie) both needed some community activities, and they came along with me the first time and kind of fell in love with it,” Sara said. 

The Special Olympics program began more than 14 years ago when Wendy Kemling-Horner and her husband Pat wanted to give back to their community.

The program has athletes ranging from 8 to 65 years of age, participating in several sports, along with their peer partners. The grant will support the yearly banquet for the athletes who participate in volleyball, basketball, and flag football.

“We’ll have a large banquet, order t-shirts for our students, and have some activities we do, so it will go directly to the athletes and their peer partners,” she said. 

Since the program has been going on for several years, the peer partners and the athletes have reaped many rewards together beyond the physical activity.

“Your peer partners and athletes really do become friends,” Kemling-Horner said. “Our athletes love interacting with other people and just to go out and have some fun time with each other. So, we do have lots of friendships that are formed.”

Each August, farmers can enter for the chance to direct a $2,500 Grow Communities donation to a local eligible nonprofit of their choice. Farmers have directed donations to food banks, emergency response organizations, schools, youth agriculture programs, and many others that reflect rural Americas spirit and support.

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