A Special Olympics buddy and his athlete run on the track during the annual Special Olympics at Mehlville High School in May.
By Jessica Belle Kramer
For the Call
The South County Chamber of Commerce will donate part of the funds raised during its golf tournament next week to the Special Olympics, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.
The South County Chamber will host its annual golf tournament Monday, Aug. 13, at Sunset Country Club at 9555 S. Geyer Road, Sunset Hills. A portion of the proceeds will benefit Special Olympics Missouri.
Special Olympics is the world’s largest sports organization for people with intellectual disabilities.
To thank the chamber for its generosity, Special Olympics volunteer Mark Bussen of Bussen Quarries spoke at a joint chamber luncheon this summer held with members of the Lemay and Columbia, Illinois, chambers.
“I can’t thank everybody enough in the chamber for donating some of the proceeds from the golf tournament towards Special Olympics,” Bussen said.
Bussen has volunteered with the Special Olympics for around 40 years, and he currently coaches the west county team. His team has 32 athletes that spend around 80 nights a year together practicing.
During those practices, the team plays softball, basketball and soccer. They also go to Cardinals games, Blues games and enjoy hayrides and picnics at Bussen Quarries in Oakville.
“Special Olympics has over 15,000 athletes around the state of Missouri, and just in the St. Louis area, there’s over 8,000,” Bussen said.
The program helps participants become gainfully employed.
“I’m really proud to tell you all 32 work somewhere, and what I’m even more proud of is that all 32 volunteer somewhere,” Bussen said of his own participants. “I like to brag on ‘em about what they do… It’s about job training, it’s about life training. And that’s why we call it ‘Training for Life.’”
The chamber’s tournament will be held this year at Sunset Country Club in Sunset Hills at a cost of $165 a golfer or $650 a team for 18 holes, a cart and a buffet dinner. For more information or to register, call the chamber office at (314) 894-6800.