Cedar Falls Special Olympics volunteer remembers Eunice Kennedy - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Cedar Falls Special Olympics volunteer remembers Eunice Kennedy


CEDAR FALLS (KWWL) - The country is mourning the loss of a woman who came from a political family, but changed the world without ever being elected to office.

"Let me win but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt," said Eunice Kennedy Shriver.

Eunice Kennedy Shriver was a founder of the Special Olympics, which offers hope and promise for the disabled, through competition.

At the opening Special Olympics Games, Eunice's said "you are the stars and the world is watching you." One man lucky enough to have met her, Joe Wilson, area director of the Northeast Iowa Special Olympics. Tuesday he said, even though Eunice is gone, what she started will forever live on.

"I think she did a great service to people with disabilities by starting the Special Olympics because she thought a lot of people with different intellectual disabilities could do a lot more than anyone ever gave them credit for," said Wilson.

Joe Wilson met Eunice Kennedy for the first time when he was in college.

"The first time I met her was at her house in D.C. area in the 1970's," said Wilson.

He was writing his dissertation on the Special Olympics, years later he started volunteering with the Iowa Special Olympics.

"The few times I met her she would treat everyone like she'd seen them dozens of times. Always treated always was had time for everybody," said Wilson.

After 25 years with Special Olympics, Wilson recalls seeing Eunice in Iowa three years ago, at the 2006 National Games. And as he remembers her words, wisdom and compassion for people with disabilities, Wilson says she'll live on here in Iowa and around the world.

"She's been responsible for everything I've seen happen since the 60's for people with disabilities. If it wasn't for her pushing for people, we would have a lot of stuff we have for people," said Wilson.

The special olympics go beyond the United States, stretching to more than 150 countries around the world. A prime example of what one person can do to make a difference.

In lieu of flowers, Eunice's family has requested that donations be made to Special Olympics. Eunice Kennedy Shriver was 88.

Online Reporter: Lauren Squires
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