Special Olympics Florida

More than just a volunteer, a mentor and a mom

Special Olympics Florida is honored to announce the selection of Pamela Fazio of Manatee County as the 2018 Bill Crutchfield Award recipient.

The Bill Crutchfield Award is given annually to an individual volunteer that demonstrates outstanding and distinguished service at the county or area level in the state. The award is named after the first director of Special Olympics Florida who was a dynamic and positive influence upon the lives of people with intellectual disabilities. This is Fazio’s second time receiving the Bill Crutchfield Award.

For 26 years, Fazio has volunteered with Special Olympics and is currently the County Director for Manatee County. She coaches multiple sports, including bocce, bowling, and swimming, and in addition to her county service she also acts as an Area Training Director, managing training schools for athletes and coaches.

“She goes above and beyond for our Special Olympics athletes. She is a truly amazing woman and no matter what is going on in her life, she is always there for our program,” said Joni Burnett, Special Olympics Florida Coach. “She has displayed outstanding leadership qualities at the county and area level. Her coaching provides year-round sports training for our athletes to work on physical fitness and experience competition.”

Fazio oversees more than 300 athletes in Manatee County, but one athlete drew her to start volunteering for Special Olympics years ago — her daughter, Melissa.

“When she was born, they told me she would be a vegetable, she would never walk or talk or do anything. But, she has grown and flourished so much from the experience in participating in Special Olympics programs,” said Fazio.

When the Fazio family moved from Pennsylvania to Florida, they decided to join Special Olympics, but had no idea the impact it would have on their lives. Since joining, her daughter Melissa, trains and competes in 4 different sports and is part of Athlete Leadership — a long ways away from the first prognosis doctors gave her when she was born.

“I consider Special Olympics as a family. I have passion for this program, and I don’t know what I would do without Special Olympics in my life. The athletes keep bringing you back and wanting to do more for them.”

Currently, there are more than 31,000 Special Olympics volunteers throughout Florida.  Learn more about becoming a volunteer.