When Pasco County’s Val Lundin began coaching with Special Olympics Florida almost 40 years ago, she was careful to keep practices simple and basic. That didn’t last long.
“The athletes exceeded all of my expectations,” she said. “I realized I needed to step up my game because they were definitely stepping up theirs.”
That was the first of many lessons Val learned during her time as a coach, volunteer, county director and games director. No matter how much she did for athletes, no matter how hard she worked, Val believes she got more from them than they got from her.
“They show more courage every day than a lot of us do,” she says. “I feel they’ve taught me more than I’ve taught them. Over the years, they have inspired and challenged me to help them reach their full potential.”
Over the years, Val has nurtured the relationships she built with athletes. She loves to see them succeed and goes out of her way to help them when possible.
“Because of the longevity of my role, I was able to see such significant growth,” she said. “It warmed my heart to see how introducing athletes to Special Olympics Florida could brighten their world, as well as mine. It brings so much joy.”