Walter and Dan Dion have been a part of Campbell River Special Olympics since the beginning of the program in the area.
They started out participating in every sport that they could. Their trophy case is full of trophies and awards from swimming, track and field and floor hockey. The brothers at 65 and 62 years old, are still bowling and playing bocce ball.
“We go out there to have fun,” Walter said.
Through Special Olympics, the brothers have travelled across the country and met all sorts of people. At Nationals in Toronto one year, during the opening ceremony, Lanny MacDonald hopped over the boards to visit with Walter. They had previously met at Baton Rouge where Walter competed in the International Special Olympics.
Of course meeting Pamela Anderson and Wayne Gretzky were highlights for the brothers. The brothers have albums full of photos and newspaper articles that were written about their successes and medals hang from their bedroom walls.
Their sister Michelle Albrecht said that Special Olympics has really enriched Dan and Walter’s lives. Not only did it give them independence, friendship and camaraderie, it gave them common ground with their father, who was also very involved in Special Olympics.
Albrecht said that it continues to keep them young, their huge smiles and enthusiastic stories about the sports that they compete in are testament to that.
Coming up on Aug. 20, is the 27th annual Howie Meeker Golf Classic, at Storey Creek Golf Course. All of the proceeds from the tournament go to supporting the Special Olympics Athletes.
Walter and Dan have been at the tournament every year since it started. Albrecht said that Dan often caddies for Howie Meeker.
This year Walter will be recovering from surgery, so he may not be at the event, but for those of you who are attending look for Dan and say hello.
“It is pretty exciting for everyone,” Albrecht said.
Howie Meeker Golf Classic
Aug. 20 – Storey Creek Golf Course.
Golf Tournament, Banquet and Auction – $150.
Banquet and Auction only – $40.