Special Olympics athletes, from left, Kirk Nelson, Caroline Colianne, Grayson Deeney, Riley Hoffman and Alex Anderson, were honored by the City Council. Credit: Photo by Wendi Kromash

The Evanston athletes participating in the Special Olympics and their family members gathered Monday evening at the Morton Civic Center for a double celebration: a congratulatory dinner sponsored by the Department of Parks and Recreation followed by public recognition from Mayor Daniel Biss during the City Council meeting.

The mayor spoke glowingly of the athletes’ accomplishments and the City Council rose for a standing ovation as everyone in the room clapped.

Mayor Daniel Biss leads the City Council in a standing ovation for Special Olympics athletes. Credit: Photo by Wendi Kromash

The night served as a capstone of a very busy June that included the 2022 USA Games held in Orlando, Fla., June 5-12, followed a week later by the Illinois Summer Olympics held in Bolingbrook.

During the dinner, athletes who had earned a medal or ribbon in competition wore it, and many table-hopped during the meal, stopping by tables to chat with friends, family members and coaches.  

The five Evanston athletes who competed in Orlando wore their red 2022 USA Games shirts. Caroline Colianne, a silver medalist in the 800-meter run, sported sneakers and socks that featured the colors of the 2022 USA Games logo. The athletes who participated in the Illinois Summer Games wore bright purple shirts.

Coach Leonard Woodson leads Special Olympics athletes and family members into the City Council meeting for the group to be honored. Credit: Photo by Wendi Kromash

The ceremony took less than five minutes, just enough time to take a few photographs, before the group walked out, leaving the City Council to conduct the rest of its business.

In the main hallway, away from Room 2800, they posed for pictures and hugged their loved ones.

The custodial staff disassembled the chairs and tables from dinner, the leftover food was packed up and put away.

Next up was another day, another practice, another competition.  

Wendi Kromash is curious about everything and will write about anything. She tends to focus on one-on-one interviews with community leaders, recaps and reviews of cultural events, feature stories about...