In 2013, the Misso family relocated from Chicago to Lee County, Florida. Perry & Mickey’s daughter, Kara, had been involved with Special Olympics for 20+ years back home and they wanted to continue that tradition when they moved. So like many people do, they Googled Special Olympics Florida and found their local County Directory. When they asked how much it would be for Kara to join, they learned that no one is ever charged a fee to participate – from that moment they were all in with Special Olympics Florida.
Since track was Kara’s favorite sport both Perry & Mickey started volunteering as timers at track and field events. As Kara’s participation in Special Olympics increased, so did Perry and Mickey’s. From running, to aquatics and golf, Kara’s parents embraced sports eventually becoming certified coaches. With a background in fund raising, the Misso family again focused their love of Special Olympics on organizing a golf outing that raised money to benefit all of the athletes in their community. Realizing they were helping to change even more lives, their involvement expanded and soon they were hosting more fundraisers, banquets and athlete outings.
But their favorite part of volunteering will always be the competition – watching athletes and witnessing the sense of achievement and joy when an athlete finishes a competition, sharing “it’s priceless.” Another favorite part of volunteering for Perry and Mickey are the friendships that they have been able to build with other athletes and families. “You look forward to seeing them every week at practices and have fun traveling to the area and state tournaments together.” The togetherness fostered by Special Olympics Florida has also helped the Misso family find their place. As Perry and Mickey said, “Being part of Lee County’s athletes, families and staff has made it easy to call Southwest Florida our home.”