Meet the 2024 Family of the Year

In the heart of Montana lies a family whose dedication to Special Olympics spans over two decades, leaving an indelible mark on the lives of athletes and the broader community. Meet the Pattens: Carl, Kaylene, and Carson—our Family of the Year for 2024, embodying the true spirit of inclusion, advocacy, and sportsmanship within Special Olympics Montana.

For over 20 years, the Pattens have been unwavering advocates for individuals with intellectual disabilities, carving out a legacy of compassion and commitment in their local community. Special Olympics has been more than a cause for them; it’s a way of life—a testament to their deep-seated belief in empowering athletes and fostering a sense of belonging for all.

Carson, their athlete and a remarkable Health Messenger, has exemplified excellence both on and off the field. Throughout the challenges of the pandemic, he spearheaded Healthy Athlete exercise webinars and championed nutritional and physical health practices among his peers. Carson’s dedication extends beyond sports—he embodies leadership, camaraderie, and resilience in every endeavor.

Mom, Kaylene, serves as the cornerstone of their local Special Olympics program. As the first point of contact for new volunteers and athletes, she welcomes them with open arms, ensuring everyone feels valued and included from day one. Her nurturing leadership has inspired countless individuals to step into roles they never thought possible, shaping future leaders within the movement.

Dad, Carl, is the financial backbone of their team, managing budgets and finances with precision for over two decades. His coaching prowess spans multiple sports, instilling not just athletic skills but also essential values of teamwork and sportsmanship in every athlete he mentors.

The Pattens’ impact extends beyond the playing field. Their generosity and creativity shine through in moments like the State Summer Games in Bozeman, where they brought a trailer full of roping gear to provide entertainment and joy for athletes before the Opening Ceremonies—a true testament to their dedication and community spirit.

Special Olympics Montana recognizes the Pattens as more than just a family; they are the heartbeat of our organization. Their wisdom, passion, and selflessness have enriched the lives of countless athletes and volunteers alike, embodying the true essence of our mission.