Noble Resident Raises Money For Special Olympics
Long-life Noble resident Donna Bouchard, along with family and friends, donated to the local chapter of the Special Olympics at the Polish Americans Citizen Club on Saturday with the money going toward Murdock High School in Hartford and Narragansett Regional in Templeton.
Fifty percent of the proceeds went to Murdock, and the other half went to ‘Gansett during a comedy show that featured four Boston-based comedians: Mark Scalia, Christine Hurley, Amy Tee and Sandi Summers. As of early Sunday morning, Bouchard raised $3,900, but she said that isn’t the final number. There was an hour-long social hour, followed by a comedy show. The show was sold-out with 260 guests in attendance.
Bouchard’s heart is close to the cause, as her cousin, Morgan Pace, who attends Murdock, has Down Syndrome. Bouchard is a volunteer manager at the Special Olympics summer games. Saturday’s fundraiser was to raise money for a Special Olympics event at Quabbin Regional High School in Barre in May, not for the state level, as in previous years.
“Next year, I’ll donate to two other schools,” Bouchard said. “Maybe Windsor and Granby.”
According to Executive Assistant to the Superintendent Susan Varney, the money raised will buy equipment for sprints, softball throw and the long jump on Quabbin’s track. Children who participate have mild to severe disabilities. Varney’s son, Liam, who attends ‘Gansett is highly functioning, but he is autistic. However, Varney said she’d offer to help regardless of her family ties to special needs.
“I’d like to think that I’d help anyway, but of course with my son being part of it, I have a fondness toward it,” Varney said.
Putting on the event was a team effort. Local restaurants, such as Southside Grill, Royer Catering and the Gardner Ale House donated light fare. Martin Farm Winery gave out wine samples. And the Windsor Police Association made a donation on behalf of the department. Officer John Smith, who wrote the check, said the comedy seems to get funnier every year.
“It’s fantastic,” Smith said. “Some of it is adult-rated, yet they keep it clean.”
He said the department is happy to do it.
“Can’t find a better cause,” Smith said.
Robin Soucy, who was also in the audience, has a special connection to the special needs population like Bouchard and Varney. She is a paraprofessional at the Waterford Street School in Windsor, and her son, Ricky, 27, has a learning disability.
“I love special education kids,” Soucy said. “They’re very special. I wanted to learn more about them because of my son. I started off as a volunteer.”
Bouchard said she is blown away that every year the event is sold-out. She added that it was even sold out in her second year despite 13 inches of snow falling on the ground.
“It makes me emotional that people are willing to give their time to do this,” Bouchard said. “It means a lot to me.”
Varney, who donated a chocolate fondue gift basket, said other raffle prizes included: home-made fishing lures, beer, Valentine’s Day items, Yankee Candle, an electric roaster, movie/ski passes and restaurant gift cards.
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