Special in many ways: Hanson earns state honor
The 56-year-old Janesville man has been named the 2008 Special Olympics Wisconsin Male Athlete of the Year. The award is given annually to a male athlete whose participation in Wisconsin Special Olympics exemplifies the character, skill, courage and dedication that the program is based upon.
Hanson will be honored Saturday in a ceremony at the Home Plate Lounge at Miller Park in Milwaukee.
Although Saturday won’t be Hanson’s first visit to Miller Park, he’s excited about the trip and the award ceremony.
“I can’t wait to go to Milwaukee because I’m going to Miller Park where the Brewers play,” Hanson said. “There’s a banquet, and it will be fun.”
Hanson said he was surprised when he found out he won the SOWI’s biggest honor, but Special Olympics assistant agency manager Kathy Holcombe was not. Holcombe said Hanson is always working to promote Special Olympics in the community and is extremely proud of his athletic accomplishments.
“Allan has been active in Special Olympics for so long that neither his mother or I could remember how long,” Holcombe said. “He encompasses everything that Special Olympics is about.
“Allan tells everyone he meets about Special Olympics and how much it means to him. He rides his bike all around town, and has become a well-known and respected figure.”
Special Olympics of Wisconsin offers more than 18 Olympic-type sports—and Hanson has participated in the majority of them—for nearly 10,000 individuals with cognitive disabilities. SOWI holds more than 75 competitions and five state tournaments per year, providing year-round training and competitive opportunities.
Hanson says bowling, basketball, swimming and bocce ball are his favorite sports.
When not practicing or competing in Special Olympics, Hanson stays busy by devoting an ample amount of time to community service.
Whether it’s ringing the bell for the Salvation Army or helping out at the Janesville Jaycees Haunted House, Hanson is a fixture in his community. He also has also participated in the local Relay for Life and recently joined the local Athletic Input Council.
The motto for the SOWI is mutual respect, positive attitude, accountability, teamwork and dedication.
Allan Hanson has all those characteristics, and that’s what makes him the 2008 Special Olympics Wisconsin Male Athlete of the Year.