Nassau County Executive Edward P. Mangano and children from the United Cerebral Palsy Association of Nassau County (UCP) today announced plans for the 2016 Nassau County Empire State Games for the Physically Challenged, which takes place from June 2nd through June 4th 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 general 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 32nd 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 and has also generously donated $5,000 toward the Opening Ceremonies.
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 http://www.nassaucountypcgames.com.
STATEMENTS IN SUPPORT OF THE GAMES:
“Providing opportunities for all is central to the ethos of a great University, and the Empire State Games for the Physically Challenged is an event we at Hofstra look forward to each year,” said Hofstra University President Stuart Rabinowitz. “We are pleased to welcome back to our campus and our county these excellent athletes and role models.
“King Kullen has been an avid supporter to ‘The Games’ since the beginning and we are honored to continue our support and participation for the athletes and their families. We look forward to another successful event, added Jeff Prince, King Kullen Vice President of Store Operations.
Martin Elias, President of Ike, Molly and Steven Elias Foundation and Elias Properties stated, “Ike, Molly & Steven Elias Foundation and Elias Properties 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 ‘2016 Games’.”
“It’s truly an honor for GEICO to support the 2016 Nassau County Empire State Games for the Physically Challenged,” said John Pham, Regional Vice President of GEICO’s New York operations. “As one of the largest employers in the county, we are thrilled to support our community in this way. The athletes who participate in the games show a tremendous amount of tenacity and spirit that serves as a strong inspiration to our GEICO associates and all Long Islanders alike.”
“NICE is an integral part of the Long Island community. Our 1000 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.” stated Michael Setzer, CEO of NICE.
Jim Macri, Board member of The Dee Foundation, stated, “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 32nd 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. The Games had an enormous impact on Dee and helped her grow into a strong and capable woman. And for 32 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.”
“C.U.R.B. is proud to sponsor the Games and support and recognize all the athletes who attend. The Nassau Games for the Physically Challenged are valuable for the confidence and dignity of all who participate, volunteer and attend,” added Rich Papetti of Citizens United to Remove Barriers.
“We at LAR Enterprises are honored to be a part of supporting the Games for the Physically Challenged. We 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,” added Rob and Laura Albanese of LAR Enterprises.
Angela Melledy, Publisher Able Newspaper, remarked, “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. It is the one place where they are the norm and it is a wonderful event for all involved.”
Susan Gordon Ryan, Founder and long-time Director of the Games, stated, “It is wonderful that the Games will be celebrating its 32nd 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.”
“Nassau Community College is once again proud and privileged to be the host venue for the Nassau County Empire State Games for the Physically Challenged. The participants in these games represent the best of the human spirit and serves as a source of inspiration. We are honored by their presence and encouraged by their commitment to excellence,” added Nassau Community College Executive Vice President Dr. Kenneth Saunders.
John Powers, President of the Society of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick, stated, “The Society of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick’s of Long Island is proud to announce Megan Manning, PT as our Taste of the Flavors of the Emerald Isle Honoree for 2016. Megan is a lifelong Long Islander and a Physical Therapist at the Children’s Learning Center at United Cerebral Palsy Association of Nassau County, Inc. She is currently introducing a new device to wheelchair bound children that will help them learn to stand and walk. Megan is also a leading community activist whose involvement ranges from volunteering her time in the local Parish of Our lady of the Miraculous Medal in Point Lookout to Tuesday’s Children and New York Says Thank You. Megan’s Irish roots stem back to her immigrant grandparents, who hailed from Counties Cork, Mayo and Sligo. The Society of the Friendly Sons is happy to continue support the 2016 Empire State Games for the Physically Challenged with our Honoree Megan Manning and thanks Nassau County for continuing to host the Games.”
“Thanks again for allowing us to be part of such an inspirational event. We always look forward to this season as your sporting events not only start you up but gets us moving too. Thanks to the hard work of the Susan Maxwell, the Victory Games Team and County Executive Mangano for keeping the games alive! Congratulations and good luck to all those competing this year,” added John Bussani, President of Bussani Mobility Team.
This year’s guest speaker at the Opening Ceremonies, Victor Calise, Commissioner of the NYC Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities, stated, “As a competitive athlete, I am honored to be a part the Games and look forward to meeting and watching the participants compete in their chosen sports.”
Joel Berse, President of Trainville Hobby Depot, stated, “Trainville Hobby Depot is proud to coordinate the Annual Nassau County Model Train Show raising money for the Victory Challenge. We thank the model train clubs whose exhibits make the shows possible. We also thank Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano for his support,” said Joel Berse, owner of Trainville Hobby Depot and show coordinator.”