For the third time in four years, the city of Glens Falls will play host to the Special Olympics of New York's Fall Games. YNN's Matt Hunter has the story.
GLENS FALLS, N.Y. -- One of 19-year-old Ben Purick's favorite moments on the golf course came during the Special Olympics in Glens Falls two years ago.
"I putted a long birdie putt in front of a few people,” recalled Purick, who says he occasionally breaks 80 for a round of 18. “It's pretty cool, I didn't expect to make that putt, I'm sure they didn't either."
On Monday at City Hall, civic leaders announced the New York Fall Games will be returning to Purick's hometown next October. It marks the third time in four years Special Olympics has brought the statewide games to Glens Falls.
"People have asked how or why do you pick a community to host your state level events,” Special Olympics New York President and CEO Neal Johnson said. “It's really simple, we go to people who want and enjoy having us with their community."
"We said to ourselves if we were ever fortunate enough to receive another opportunity to achieve that bid again, we're going to do that," Glens Falls Mayor Jack Diamond said.
Stretched over three days, the games include seven different events at five venues around the region.
"They work very hard, they're very proud of what they've accomplished and they're very competitive," State Senator Betty Little said.
With 1,000 coaches and athletes, not to mention their families, expected to visit for the weekend, there's no doubt the games will also provide a boost to the city's economy.
"From our downtown perspective in our community, whether it's the hotel accommodations, everybody benefits from it," Diamond said.
Glens Falls beat out larger cities like Syracuse and Rochester, largely due to its ease in attracting volunteers.
For a seasoned vet like Purick, it marks another opportunity to shine on his home course in front of friends and family.
"He's gained a lot of positive aspects from Special Olympics, definitely,” said Cheryl Purick, Ben’s mother. "He has a very positive attitude and is a 'go get 'em' kind of guy."
"When I get the gold it's good!” Purick said. “It's fun to get the gold." Opening ceremonies are scheduled for October 17, 2014 at the Glens Falls Civic Center.
The Glens Falls Police Department is helping to raise funds for the event, starting with a polar plunge in Lake George on Saturday, November 16. For more information, visit www.specialaolympicsNY.org or www.polarplungeNY.org/lakegeorge.