The 2023 Special Olympics Kentucky State Summer Games marked the 11th year that Kentucky’s Touchstone Energy Cooperatives has served as the Platinum Sponsor of the Games, making them the largest single supporter of our biggest event of the year. And while their financial support of the Summer Games is a massive lift to the Games, it is hardly the only way that Touchstone Energy and its people are involved.
“After 11 years with them, it’s almost hard to remember what the Summer Games looked like before they joined us,” Special Olympics Kentucky President and CEO Trish Mazzoni said. “They have become an integral part of what we do that weekend.”
There are two places where Touchstone Energy’s involvement in the Games is unmistakable — at the track and wherever the hot air balloon is able to set up that year. This year it was on the intramural fields near the bocce and soccer competitions.
At the track, 85 Touchstone Energy team members and family turned out to help organize the track awards presentations for the 11th consecutive year. They provided nearly 600 hours of volunteer service on June 3 alone.
“It’s incredible to have them back at the track every year for a couple of reasons,” Mazzoni explained. “The awards presentations are a really important part of the day for our athletes and their families and we want them to go well and have meaning. And our co-op volunteers have been doing it so long that they are all so good at managing what can be a fast-paced and sort of chaotic process. Also, they have an important role in the Games and they take it seriously and work hard at it. But at the same time, they all do it with so much joy. Touchstone Energy adds so much to what we do there.”
The hot air balloon has, unsurprisingly, become a favorite of our athletes when they have time away from competition. as long as conditions permit, athletes and others can take a tethered ride high above the Games. It had been a big part of the Olympic Town experience when weather permitted, but when campus construction forced Olympic Town to move to a non-balloon friendly location, a solution was found. Bocce and soccer are the sports farthest from Olympic Town, so the move to the intramural fields had the added bonus of giving athletes from sports that may not have had the opportunity to enjoy the balloon in the past to hop in.
Joe Settles of Kentucky’s Touchstone EnergyCooperatives, says the Summer Games experience has been a plus both for the cooperatives and their employees.
“We are proud of our longtime involvement with Special Olympics Kentucky,” Settles said. “Every year, employees from our 17 electric cooperatives volunteer their time to help with the summer games and they always comment on how rewarding it is to see the joy on the faces of the athletes and their families as they compete.”
Kentucky’s Touchstone Energy Cooperatives extended its involvement well beyond the Summer Games in recent years. They continue to donate bottled water that is used at nearly every Special Olympics Kentucky event — including in every lunch distributed to athletes, coaches and volunteers on Saturday at the Summer Games. In 2018 the co-ops produced awards screens that are used at Special Olympics competitions throughout the year. They have also donated co-branded tents that are used throughout the year.
“We are truly grateful to have the opportunity to work with Kentucky’s Touchstone Energy Cooperatives,” Mazzoni said, “and we are thrilled that have chosen be such an important part of the overall Special Olympics Kentucky family.”
For information about the State Summer Games or about other Games sponsorship opportunities, contact President and CEO Trish Mazzoni at 502-695-8222 or [email protected].