Distinguished Service Awards

The Distinguished Service Awards are the most prestigious awards given by Special Olympics Montana.  Nominations are received from Special Olympics Montana volunteers, coaches, parents, and athletes. A selection committee is appointed to review the submissions and is charged with the difficult task of selecting a winner in each award category.

 

There are nine awards including the following: Athlete of the Year, Adult Volunteer of the Year, Coach of the Year, Hall of Fame, Family of the Year, Local Program of the Year, Youth Volunteer of the Year, and Unified Champion School of the Year, and the Spirit of Special Olympics.

Nominations are now open for the 2025 Distinguished Service Awards. It is never too early to nominate!

2024 Distinguished Service Award Winners

Athlete of the Year

Jared Redeen

Missoula Diamondbacks

Adult Volunteer of the Year

Amanda Minchew

Billings

Family of the Year

Carl, Kaylene, and Carson Patten

Central Montana Eagles

Local Program of the Year

Miles City Adults

Miles City, MT

Coach of the Year

Brooke Hollowell 

Miles City Adults

Unified Champion School of the Year

Early Learning Family Center

Great Falls Public Schools

Youth Volunteer of the Year

Fern Stewart

Unified Partner, Hamilton High School

Hall of Fame

Cyndi Huempfner

Bozeman, MT

Distinguished Service Awards

Athlete of the Year

For the athlete who epitomizes the spirit of a true winner by a willingness to help others and give his or her very best while displaying outstanding courage and sportsmanship.

Coach of the Year

For the volunteer or professional who, as a certified Special Olympics coach in any official Special Olympics sport, best demonstrates the high degree of technical skill, commitment and compassion needed to motivate and train athletes for competition and for life.

Local Program of the Year

For the accredited Special Olympics program that shows the greatest improvement, best exemplifies the Special Olympics spirit and concept, and provides a well-developed year-round program for the athletes, coaches, volunteers, and families of Special Olympics Montana.

Adult Volunteer of the Year

For the best example of a currently registered adult volunteer who serves to improve the quality of Special Olympics at the local, area or chapter level.

Family of the Year

For the family of a Special Olympics athlete that makes unique and lasting contributions to the lives of individuals with intellectual disabilities or developmental disabilities through Special Olympics Montana.

Youth Volunteer of the Year

For the best example of volunteerism by a youth 18 years or under who serves to improve the quality of Special Olympics program and models a world of acceptance, respect, and inclusion.

Unified Champion School of the Year

For a K-12 or college-level Unified Champion School that effectively and successfully embraces Unified Sports, youth leadership and advocacy, and whole school engagement.

Spirit of Special Olympics

For the individual or organization who, through the long-term commitment to Special Olympics Montana, best exemplifies the dedication and unselfish efforts associated with the true spirit of Special Olympics. (New in 2025 – this award will be TWO awards – one for an individual; one for an organization!)

Hall of Fame

The qualifying volunteer must have given a minimum of 10 years of service to Special Olympics Montana. This award recognizes the lifetime achievement of an individual who has given exemplary service to the mission of Special Olympics Montana. This individual has charted new levels of excellence and enriched the lives of Special Olympics athletes and our community with strength of character, wonderful spirit, compassion, and insightful leadership.