Nassau County Executive Edward P. Mangano was joined today by private sector sponsors and members of the Bethpage High School Student Council to announce that Nassau County has once again raised the necessary funds to host the Nassau County Empire State Games for the Physically Challenged in 2014. With the support of private-sector donations, County Executive Mangano began saving the Games in 2011 after New York State eliminated funding for the Empire State Games for the Physically Challenged.
“The young student athletes who are able to participate in the weekend of events are truly inspirational to watch,” said County Executive Mangano. “As you see them cross the finish line, you see the smiles on their faces and tears of joy in their eyes. For one weekend, they get to compete with their friends from across New York State, share their stories and continue to build long-lasting friendships. I thank all those who generously support the Games!”
The 2014 Nassau County Empire State Games for the Physically Challenged will take place from May 29th through May 31st at Mitchel Athletic Complex and Nassau Community College. Athletes will compete in track, field, slalom, archery, swimming, wheelchair basketball and table tennis. Participants, ranging from ages 5 to 21, face disabilities including blindness, visually impaired, deaf, hearing impaired, spinal cord injured, amputees and those who have cerebral palsy, dwarfism and other physical challenges.
This year the Games for the Physically Challenged will “Celebrate 30 Years of Ability.” In its 30th year of competition, the Games will take place in part due to contributions from King Kullen—America’s First Supermarket— who has been a long-time sponsor helping to feed the athletes, while Hofstra University has committed to housing the athletes with only minimal costs for maintenance. Nassau Community College is the venue hosting swimming, wheelchair basketball and table tennis events as well as the closing ceremonies. NuHealth has shown their support byproviding medical assistance with staff and volunteers in the past and will continue in 2014. The Nassau County Department of Health and Medical Reserve Corp volunteers will once again work in partnership with NuHealth to provide onsite medical care and response during the games. In addition, Veolia will provide shuttle bus service for participants and has also generously donated $5,000 toward the Opening Ceremonies.
“It is wonderful that the Games will be celebrating their 30th anniversary this year. They have a long and very positive history for the athletes, which could not have happened without thesupport of Nassau County and New York State and of course the commitment of the Committee Heads, Volunteers and Coaches for all these years,” said Susan Gordon Ryan, Founder and long-time Director of the Games for the Physically Challenged.
“King Kullen has been honored to play a part in the ‘Games for the Physically Challenged’for the past 29 years and is pleased to continue to show our support to this admirable annual event,” said Jeff Prince, Director of Store Operations for King Kullen.
“The Games for the Physically Challenged are a wonderful opportunity for our community to celebrate achievement and to bring together young people from across New York State to compete in a great competition,” said Hofstra University President Stuart Rabinowitz. “Hofstra University has a long history as a host for these games and we are pleased to continue this great tradition in partnership with Nassau County.”
“Nassau Community College is once again proud and privileged to be a host venue for the Nassau County Empire State Games for the Physically Challenged,” said Acting President Kenneth K. Saunders of Nassau Community College. “And as members of the Long Island community, we are indeed fortunate observers and well-wishers because the participants' courage strengthens us, their indomitable spirit uplifts us, and their commitment to put forth their best efforts energizes us all.”
“It is an honor and a privilege for NUMC to participate in the Victory Games,” said Dr. Jorge Gardyn, MD, FACP. “Our partnership with the Nassau County Department of Health is another way to enhance our relationship with the community."
“The people at Veolia's NICE bus operation love to get involved with the Games; drivers, technicians, and administrative staff all step out of our everyday roles and show what we can do in a wonderful environment,” said Michael Setzer, President of Operation, Veolia Transportation. “Carrying passengers is what we do and these passengers are some of our very favorite ones."
The Ike, Molly and Steven Elias Foundation & Elias Properties donated a $15,000 sponsorship for the Games; Bethpage High School's Student Council raised $10,000 for the Games; GEICO provided a $5,000 Swimming Competition Sponsorship; Home Medical Equipment has generously pledged to a $5,000 Wheelchair Basketball Sponsorship; The Dee Foundation has pledged a $5,000 Track and Field Sponsorship for the Games; The Bussani Mobility Team donated $2,500 for the Games; The Disability Opportunities Fund will be providing the medals and ribbons for the Athletes at the Games; The Friendly Sons of St. Patrick and LAR Enterprises have committed to host fundraisers for the Games; and Angela Melledy, Publisher of Able Newspaper is once again assisting with in-kind support and promotion of the Games as well as serving as a member of the Save the Games Committee.
“Ike, Molly & Steven Elias Foundation and Elias Properties are proud to sponsor the Nassau County Empire State Games for the Physically Challenged,” said Martin Elias. “It is so gratifying to see how enthused and excited all the athletes are each year as participants in these games. The games truly make a difference in their lives and we are very happy to support the "2014 Saving the Games".
“GEICO is honored and proud to be a sponsor for the Nassau County Empire State Games for the Physically Challenged,” said Daniel Hansen, Head of GEICO's Philanthropic efforts in the Nassau Region.
“It's a great day for Nassau County and an even greater day for our athletes,” said Denis Menke, Vice President, Home Medical Equipment. “Home Medical Equipment is proud to sponsor these games in the spirit of competition and skill."
“The Dee Foundation, which was created to celebrate the remarkable and courageous life of Dee Macri, is very pleased to sponsor the track and field event at the 30th Anniversary Games for the Physically Challenged. Dee was a competitor at the inaugural games in 1985 and continued to compete, and volunteer for many of the following years,” said Jim Macri Board Member of The Dee Foundation. “The Games had an enormous impact on Dee and helped her grow into a strong and capable woman. And for 30 years the Games have given the people who surround these athletes a way to celebrate their challenges and triumphs. We are very pleased to make this award to support this fine competition.”
John Bussani, President of the Bussani Mobility Team stated, “It is a great pleasure to be considered part of this event. For decades the Bussani Family has been impacted by the smiling faces of satisfied customers, many of whom have been Games' participants. We couldn't imagine a year going by without them and are very grateful to County Executive Mangano and the outstanding crew that makes the games a reality. The athletes are an incredible inspiration to many well beyond the disabled community. For that the Bussani family says best of luck and congratulations!”
The Disability Opportunity Fund is a Nassau County based not-for-profit organization which supports people with disabilities. "I commend County Executive Mangano's commitment to the athletes who participate year after year," Charlie Hammerman, President and CEO of The Disability Opportunity Fund said. "As a parent of a former athlete, nothing is more rewarding than watching these children compete. The Disability Opportunity Fund is proud to be a sponsor for the fourth consecutive year, providing the medals and ribbons."
“I will be eternally grateful to County Executive Mangano for keeping these Games alive for the children who look forward to the experience each year,” said Angela Melledy, Publisher Able Newspaper. “It is the one place where they are the norm and it is a wonderful event for all involved."
“We at LAR Enterprises are honored to be a part of supporting the Games for the Physically Challenged,” said Rob and Laura Albanese of LAR Enterprises. “We will again host a benefit concert in support of the Games, on September 20th in Eisenhower Park. We want to thank County Executive Ed Mangano for getting LAR Enterprises involved with this worthwhile fundraiser and we looking forward to making this Concert a total success.”
The cost of participation is free and the numbers of athletes increase each year, boasting over 1,000. The dedication brought forth by the parents, families, teachers, coaches and volunteers are critical to the success of the Games. Operating with a small staff, the Games are facilitated by those who return year after year to a program they love. For more information, please visit Nassau County Empire State Games for the Physically Challenged website at www.nassaucountypcgames.com.
“I challenge the public, on May 30th and 31st, to come to Mitchel Athletic Complex and Nassau Community College to support these student athletes and experience first-hand their joy and triumph,” Mangano added.