As Special Olympics Wisconsin athletes across the state stay home to help slow the spread of the coronavirus, Special Olympics Wisconsin’s Vice President of Unified Leadership, Jeanne Hrovat, is reaching out by phone to members of the Athlete Input Council (AIC) and other athlete leaders. We recognize the importance of checking in with people and going the extra mile to stay connected during this time of social distancing. We will be publishing her accounts of these conversations. They have been lightly edited for clarity.
By Jeanne Hrovat
Meet Lora Behr from Sheboygan County Adult Special Olympics (5-07).
After completing the Global Messenger training in 2018, Lora went on to get certified as an Athlete Health Messenger and Athlete Coach all within one year. She demonstrated such initiative and leadership, we asked her to join the Athlete Input Council.
Don’t let Lora’s seemingly quiet disposition fool you. She is a mighty force who bravely continued to work at the Piggly Wiggly in Plymouth bagging groceries and wiping down carts throughout the entirety of the pandemic. I asked her how it was going and she said it helps that she likes her co-workers, some of whom have been together since Lora started. Her mom, Kay, is the Agency Manager for Sheboygan County, and both her mom and dad have continued to work during this time. Lora says they are all doing their best to stay safe. (She reports her mom is actually getting more sleep now that SOWI is on hold, but is going through withdrawals.)
Both Lora’s parents are from Plymouth, so that means too many aunts, uncles and cousins in the area to count. Her grandmother who turned 90 right around Mother’s Day and Lora is looking forward to going with her aunt to Elkhart Lake Beach come summer. She also enjoys going to Summerfest where last year she saw Kenny Chesney. (Maybe it was the recent 70-degree weather day, but we ended up talking a lot about summer and cheeseburgers on the grill).
Lora has not been convinced to join the SOWI Fitness at Home Facebook group, but she continues to walk during this time. As a 5’3” starting forward for her basketball team, and a coach for basketball skills, Lora was sad to miss the end of the basketball season. Since I’m a former basketball player and I’m 6’0” tall, I was curious how she beats the taller players under the basket. She said her secret weapon is she is super quick and a good shot.
I think this photo proves Lora could run circles around me on the court. (Photo taken after the 2019 Summer Games Athlete Leader Reunion where I can hardly stand up and Lora thinks I’m crazy.)
Lora has not completed her AIC individual plan for 2020, but she put her leadership skills to work in 2019 for several fundraising events. She completed a 5K Run with the Cops and said it was cool to run at night. She also helped with both the Dunkin’ and Texas Roadhouse fundraisers where she waited tables with Sheboygan County Sheriff, Matt Spence. (Matt also volunteers as their agency swim coach.)
On the program side, she served as co-emcee at the 2019 OST Opening Ceremony and helped tend the Team Captains’ Table. She did such a great job with that, she has been asked to co-emcee the 2020 Virtual Celebration Ceremony scheduled for June 4, 2020.
Lora is also a fan of tattoos. In fact, she told me that her whole family got tattoos. She and her brother went together, and she initially got a butterfly to which she added some flowers two years later. She reports her next one will be a tattoo of the Seattle USA Games logo in commemorate her being a member of Team Wisconsin for the 2018 USA Games, where she earned a silver medal in the 200-meter dash. She’ll wear the tattoo proudly, especially if she qualifies for the upcoming USA Games in Orlando!