KADENA AIR BASE, JAPAN — More than 1,500 volunteers from different branches of the U.S. military and the local community came together to help with the 2007 Special Olympic Games. The games were held for the eighth consecutive year at Kadena Air Base (AB) in Japan.

Volunteers helped in a variety of duties, including translation, scorekeeping, medal presentations, logistical and medical support, and food preparation and distribution. The event's $70,000 cost was covered through fund-raisers, golf tournaments and cash donations.

The event's goal was to show Special Olympians as incredible people who have overcome tremendous hurdles and serve as role models of persistence, acceptance and hope, says Brett Williams, the 18th Wing commander.

“Kadena has taken great pride in hosting the Special Olympics for the past eight years,” Williams says. “The commitment and dedication of each person here promotes better lives for people with special gifts reaching far beyond the confines of the stadium and this event.”

Athletes participated in a wide range of events, including the 100-meter dash and ground golf. Artists also displayed their talents in an art show in the Kadena High School gymnasium.

According to the Special Olympics chairman, the event has grown each year. This year's event approached the maximum capacity for its location.