Seasonal awards were presented at the athletes banquet of the NW La. District Senior Olympics Wednesday. In left photo, Harry Strain shows off the Hazel Gay Torch Award after receiving it from District Coordinator Doyle Blasingame (right). In the right photo, Jo Ann Blasingame receives the 2013 Northwest District MVP Award from her husband, Doyle, at the Harrah’s Louisiana Downs’ Sky Club event. (Click photos to enlarge)
Harry Strain won the coveted Hazel Gay Torch Award and Jo Ann Blasingame received the Most Valuable Player Award as the 21st NW La. District Senior Olympics drew to a close with an athletes banquet at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs’ Sky Room Wednesday (May 29).
District Coordinator Doyle Blasingame recalled history and the late Hazel Gay’s persistence in helping to get the District Senior Olympics going again in 1995 as he presented the award. After conducting the district games for three years, the YMCA of Shreveport-Bossier discontinued running the games. Gay worked to convince Blasingame and the Bossier Council on Aging to become the sponsoring agency and they did in 1996. “Hazel was a very special lady. If it hadn’t been for her, who knows where we would be. And if it were not for workers like Harry where would we be today?”
The crowd applauded when the coordinator said, “she is the wind beneath my wings,” in presenting the MVP award to his wife, Jo Ann. The award was started two years ago and goes to someone who’s service often goes unnoticed but is vital in the various tasks that keep the games running smoothly.
Paula Hadwin received the Ken Howard’s Spirit Award, emblematic of an individual who openly enjoys taking part in the games, encourages fellow competitors and brings others into the competition. Barbara Wheeler and Gary Price were named 2013 Athletes of the Year. Gerry Robichaux received the Volunteer of the Year Award.