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Mangano Helps Save The Games For The Physically Challenged

Calls on Public to Join the Cause

Due to New York State’s announcement that it will eliminate all funding for the Empire State Games for the Physically Challenged, Nassau County Executive Edward P. Mangano today announced that Nassau County will step in to save the Games. In an effort to continue this tradition, the County Executive created the Committee to Save the Games being chaired by Disability Opportunity Fund President & CEO Charles D. Hammerman. The Nassau County Empire State Games for the Physically Challenged will take place this year from June 2nd through the 4th.

“The Empire State Games for the Physically Challenged have taken place in Nassau County for the past 26 years; so naturally, there is no better place to continue the tradition,” said County Executive Mangano. “We’re asking the public to get involved to help keep the Games alive.”

Charles D. Hammerman, President & CEO of the Disability Opportunity Fund, a Nassau County-based not-for-profit organization which supports people with disabilities, said, “I am very honored to be working with County Executive Ed Mangano and his staff on ‘Saving the Games’. As a parent of a daughter who enjoyed participating in this event many years ago, it will be very exciting to continue this tradition for the next generation.”

The 2011 Nassau County Empire State Games for the Physically Challenged will take place at Mitchel Athletic Complex and Nassau Community College. Athletes compete in track, field, slalom, swimming, wheelchair basketball and table tennis. Participants, ranging in age from 5 to 21, face disabilities of blind, visually impaired, deaf, hearing impaired, spinal cord injured, amputees and those who have cerebral palsy, dwarfism and other physical disabilities.

“I am so pleased that the young athletes from the Games for the Physically Challenged will continue to be able to compete at Mitchel Athletic Complex and Nassau Community College on June 2-4. Nassau County has been the home to the Games since we began them in 1985,” said Founder of the Games for the Physically Challenged and Committee to Save the Games Event Chairwoman Susan Gordon Ryan. “This year with generous support of County Executive Ed Mangano and the countless volunteers who work every year to make the Games happen we will all be planning to celebrate our 27th year of watching our athletes Win and Inspire again.”

The cost of participation is free and the numbers of athletes increase each year, boasting up to 1,100! The dedication brought forth by the parents, families, teachers, coaches and volunteers are crucial to the success of these games. Operating with a small staff, the games are facilitated by those who return year after year to a program they love.

In its 27th year of competition, the Games will take place due to the generosity of sponsors, private donations and in-kind resources from Nassau County. King Kullen – America’s First Supermarket – has committed to helping feed the athletes and Hofstra University has committed to housing athletes for free minus their costs of maintenance.

“King Kullen has alwayssupported the Games for the Physically Challenged,”stated King Kullen Vice President Thomas Cullen.“To be able to watch these athletes return year after year to compete in sports they love is absolutely amazing. Being a part of their lives and dreams has provided King Kullen the opportunity to want to sponsor the Games once again.”

“We are happy to welcome the Nassau County Empire State Games for the Physically Challenged and the athletes back to Hofstra, and are pleased to contribute our housing facilities. Hofstra is committed to providing access and opportunity to our community and to partnering with government and other not for profit groups to ensure that important events such as these games remain available for New Yorkers,” said Stuart Rabinowitz, President, Hofstra University.

“As Honorary Co-Chair of the 2011 Games for the Physically Challenged, I am pleased that the College can play a vital role in this event which honors the resilience, determination and athletic prowess of these marvelous competitors and their families," said Dr. Donald P. Astrab, President of Nassau Community College.

Residents can Save the Games by taking action today. Donations can be made at www.savethegames.org.

For more information please also visit www.nassaucountyny.gov/SavetheGames.htm.