Mineola, NY – Nassau County Executive today announced plans for the 2017 Nassau County Empire State Games for the Physically Challenged, which takes place from June 1st through June 3rd at Mitchel Athletic Complex and Nassau Community College. New York State funding was eliminated for the Games several years ago and the Mangano administration, with the help of private sector sponsors, has kept the Games alive. County Executive Mangano stated, “The young student athletes who participate in the Nassau County Empire State Games for the Physically Challenged are truly inspirational to watch. As they cross the finish line, you see the smiles on their faces and tears of joy in their eyes. Thanks to the support of generous sponsors, these wonderful children have the ability to compete with their friends from across the State, share their stories and build friendships that will last a lifetime.” With the generous support of corporations such as Elias Properties, GEICO and the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick, 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. In its 33rd year, 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. The Nassau County Department of Health and Medical Reserve Corp volunteers will once again work to provide onsite medical care and response during the games. In addition, NICE Bus will provide shuttle bus service for participants. Sponsors also include: The Dee Foundation; The Bussani Mobility Team; C.U.R.B.; Westbury Shake Shack; UBS; Trainville Hobby Depot; the New York Islanders; and Able Newspaper. 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. STATEMENTS IN SUPPORT FROM SPONSORS OF THE GAMES: “The Games for the Physically Challenged offer an opportunity for our entire community to come together to celebrate student athletes who embody the values of diversity, tenacity and resilience,” said Hofstra University President Stuart Rabinowitz. “We are honored to be a part of such an inspiring New York state tradition.” “Once again, Nassau Community College shares pride of place in hosting the Nassau County Empire State Games for the Physically Challenged. We are so honored to be the host venue for these athletes who serve as such an inspiration to us all, and demonstrate the best of the human spirit. We are humbled by their presence, and encouraged by their indomitable spirit,” added Dr. W. Hubert Keen, President, Nassau Community College. “King Kullen has been honored to be part of this very special event year after year. Everyone involved in the Empire State Games goes above & beyond to make this event more amazing each year. Good luck to all the athletes on all their dedication & hard work,” said Frank Vassallo, Director of Store Operations for King Kullen Grocery Co., Inc. Martin Elias from the Ike, Molly & Steven Elias Foundation and Elias Properties stated, “We are proud to sponsor the Nassau County Empire State Games for the Physically Challenged. 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 2017 Games.” “The Society is honored to be a part of such a rich tradition of support for such a worthy cause,” said Dermot Kelly, of The Society of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick’s of Long Island. “We all look forward to watching and cheering on all the athletes from far and wide.” John Powers, President of The Society of the Friendly Sons, remarked, “The Friendly Sons are happy to continue support for the 2017 Empire State Games for the Physically Challenged with our Honoree Lora Webster and thanks Nassau County for continuing to host the Games.” “NICE is an integral part of the Long Island community. Our 1,000 employees step up each day to help people live their lives productively. Having a chance to participate with the outstanding individuals that support and compete in the games is a must-do for us and we are thrilled to be part of it,” said Michael Setzer, CEO of NICE. “The Dee Foundation is very proud to sponsor the games again this year. Our sister truly enjoyed all aspects of this wonderful event. The Games are not just for the athletes, but for all the people who surround them,” said Jim Macri, Board Member of the Dee Foundation. “It gives families and friends an opportunity to celebrate the challenges and triumphs of all the competitors.” “The next generation of Bussani looks forward to supporting the games as we have done for decades. Our congratulations go out to the athletes and wish them all well,” said Daniel Bussani, CEO of The Bussani Mobility Team. “Keep up the inspiring hard work. We can’t wait to see those medals!” Citizens United to Remove Barriers President Rich Papetti added, “C.U.R.B. is proud to continue our sponsorship of the games. Our mission includes removal of barriers which prevent participation in community life for health, social or recreational purposes and the Nassau games are the embodiment of our goals.” “We’re thrilled to be a sponsor of the 2017 Games,” said Westbury Shake Shack General Manager Andrew Trinchitella. “Shake Shack’s mission is to Stand For Something Good and supporting such an awesome event is a natural extension of our core values. We can’t wait to cheer on all of the participants!” “UBS is pleased and proud to sponsor this great event,” said John Houlihan, the Long Island Market Head from UBS. “It is really fulfilling for our employees to volunteer here. Seeing the courage and joy the participants bring to the competition is truly inspiring.” “Trainville Hobby Depot will be continuing our fundraising efforts by hosting our 5th Model Train Show to benefit the Games on November 18th and 19th at the Bethpage Senior Community Center located at 103 Grumman Road West in Bethpage from 11am to 4 pm. The prior shows have raised approximately $16,000 for the Games,” said Joel Berse of Trainville Hobby Depot. “The New York Islanders are once again proud to support the Nassau County Empire State Games for the Physically Challenged. The games offer youth the opportunity to participate in sports and recreational activities adapted to their unique abilities. These games bring not only hope but joy to all the athletes participating. We look forward to participating in this great sporting event,” remarked Ann Rina, Community Relations Director for the New York Islanders. “I am eternally grateful to Nassau County for keeping these Games alive for the children who look forward to the experience each year. It is the one place where they are the norm and it is a wonderful event for all involved,” stated Angela Melledy, Publisher of Able Newspaper. “It is wonderful that the Games will be celebrating their 33rd Anniversary this year. They have a long and very positive history for the athletes, which could not have happened without the support of Nassau County and New York State and of course the commitment of the Committee Heads, Volunteers and Coaches for all these years,” concluded Susan Gordon Ryan, Founder and former Director.