Parents of Special Olympics athletes face Decatur city leaders

DECATUR, Ala. (WHNT) — Dozens of parents of Special Olympics athletes faced Decatur City leaders on Monday to voice concerns about the current state of the program.

The recreation program held at Fort Decatur Recreation Center has been without a therapeutic Therapeutics-Recreation Coordinator for months.

Athens City Schools hosts Track & Field Special Olympics

A packed house of parents and caregivers spoke during the public comment session searching for answers for this very important hire.

For three decades, Kellie Sims held the recreation coordinator position for the county.

Sims retired in December after 27 years. 

With no coordinator in place, the athletes missed very important athletic entry deadlines. 

Parents of special needs athletes concerned about the lack of a coordinator

After hearing the plea from the parents, Stephanie McClain with Decatur’s Parks and Recreation said they are reviewing applications with hopes of getting someone in place.

“The first time we put the job out was in December of last year, we did not have any applicants to apply, so we left it for a little longer and got one applicant, and the one did not meet the job qualifications,” McClain explained. “We went back and reposted it and now we’ve got several applications so hopefully we will be able to find the right person.”

Parks and Recreation director Jason Lake, while apologetic to the parents about the hiring delay, said that he is looking forward to seeing if the applicants are qualified to hold the special position.

“Hopefully we can bring somebody in that will have that expertise but at the end of the day we want somebody to love doing the job as Kellie did,” said Lake.

Parents and the athletes remain hopeful. The Special Olympics festivities start on May 18 in Troy.

For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to