Monty Castevens can explain his many roles with Special Olympics pretty succinctly: “You name it, I’ve done it!” Special Olympics Chairman Tim Shriver commonly referred to Castevens as a ‘pioneer’.
He’s been a volunteer, a staff member, and ultimately Special Olympics Florida’s President and CEO. He began in North Carolina, moved on to Special Olympics International and found a permanent home in Florida. In all, Castevens dedicated 41 years to the athletes of Special Olympics.
When he began at SOFL, the organization was still establishing itself. Now, he says, “we have lots of athletes and a widely expanded program.” That’s due, in part, to organizations like SOFL recruiting community leaders, athletes, and celebrities to be part of the Special Olympics movement.
“When people of that stature stood up and advocated for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, others stood up and listened,” he said.
Through his work with Special Olympics, Castevens got the chance to meet multiple presidents, shake Nelson Mandela’s hand and even dance to the Beach Boys on the White House Lawn. But what he remembers most fondly is the progress made for athletes.
“Now, most states have multiple games and multiple events year-round,” he said. “There are so many opportunities for athletes to participate.”