To help with the games, volunteers must fill out applications that are available by calling a special hotline number 1-888-988-2269. Applications also are available on-line athttp://www.wvu.edu/~instadv/specialolympics/


Approximately 1,500 volunteers are needed to help run the West Virginia Special Olympics Summer Games at West Virginia University June 8-10. WVU has been the host for the summer games for the past three years, said Nancy Moore, WVU s Special Olympics coordinator.


“This is a wonderful opportunity to get involved in a very worthwhile community activity,”Moore said.”Participants always tell me how rewarding it is to help the athletes and to be a part of their joy and achievement.”


More than 500 athletes from most of West Virginias 55 counties are expected to participate in the activities again this year. Events range from bocce and swimming to track and field.


“I wouldnt trade this experience for anything,”said volunteer Sara Browning, a WVU graduate student from Coalton.”The athletes are awesome, and they are so very appreciative of the volunteers who take the time to come out and cheer them on. This really is a mutually beneficial experience.”


Volunteers of all ages help athletes get to and from the games, provide encouragement, keep score, register teams, help run extracurricular activities in the Olympic Village, provide first aid, assist with opening and closing ceremonies and generally just help out in all aspects of the competition and pageantry.


This years opening ceremony is set for 8 p.m. Friday, June 8, at Mountaineer Field. A special events line-up will be announced later this spring, but Moore is encouraging Morgantown and area residents to”put this date on your calendars to welcome these athletes in style and to demonstrate our pride in hosting these special activities.”Spectator attendance at the opening ceremony is one area officials want to improve.


Last year, nearly 1,200 volunteers from around the state assisted in the games attended by nearly 500 athletes and their families.


For more information, call Moore, 304-293-2269.