Richard Frazier, Ronnia Frazier, Eli Frazier- North Carolina
Photo and story by: Kaitlyn Burke, University of Nebraska- Lincoln
Frazier Family Making an Impact
The Frazier family came from halfway across the country to volunteer at the power lifting venue for the 2010 Special Olympics USA National Games in Lincoln, Nebraska. The Frazier family’s passion for the Special Olympics began over 20 years ago when Richard and Ronnia met in college. “We got involved with Special Olympics in college in North Carolina. The college promoted the event and so we began volunteering. My husband then took a job that required him to work at the State Games in Greenville and then it all snowballed from there,” Ronnia said.
That snowball has only gotten bigger and a lot has changed since their first experience at the State Games in North Carolina. Richard has been the technical delegate for power lifting at the regional, state, national and international level. In addition to working regional and state levels, Richard was the technical delegate for the inaugural USA National Games in Ames, Iowa and worked internationally for the Dublin, Ireland, Shanghai, China and next year’s Athens, Greece Special Olympics world games. His wife Ronnia and their son, Eli travel with him and volunteer as officials for the power lifting competitions. Eli started getting involved with Special Olympics five years ago, “When I was younger my parents got me started. I was the tag along, but I fell in love with it and just keep coming back for more,” expressed Eli.
For the Frazier family it isn’t about travel or the praise of other people. Rather it is about the athletes and what they do. With a tear in her eye Ronnia stated, “It’s the spirit. It’s the spirit of love, teamwork and everybody coming together; nobody’s grouchy, everyone is happy and everyone comes together, it’s beautiful, it’s a yes I can attitude.” Richard noted that, “We enjoy what we do here. We always feel great because once you experience the enjoyment of the athletes it’s something that will always be near and dear to my heart. I enjoy working with the athletes, coaches and other workers and volunteers.”
The Fraziers are a unique and inspiring family. Instead of having a family trip to Hawaii or California, they spend their vacations working and volunteering for the Special Olympics. “It feels very good to work together as a family,” Richard said, “We do lots of things together, but all of us working together for the same goal and same purpose is really meaningful to me.”
“This truly makes you appreciate what you have” Ronnia describes. “Sometimes it’s so easy to say I can’t do this or maybe I don’t want to get up in the morning, but when you look at somebody who has to put fourth so much more effort, and then you do too. My experience with Special Olympics has changed my life.”
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