SPECIAL OLYMPICS SPORT AND EMPOWERMENT ACT OF 2004 -- (House of Representatives - October 06, 2004)
(BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT)
Mr. CANTOR. Mr. Speaker, I thank the majority whip for yielding me this time and congratulate him for bringing this bill forward. I also thank the minority whip, the gentleman from Maryland, for his work on this piece of legislation. I, too, rise in support of this bill. I think I, too, have been a hugger. I know many of our colleagues in this House have attended several Special Olympics events and have seen firsthand the limitless capabilities of these athletes. I am encouraged just about the prospects of how many more athletes will be drawn to these events because of the passage of this legislation.
A few years ago, Special Olympics Virginia received a grant that allowed the organization to implement a program specifically aimed at Richmond's inner city and giving individuals there otherwise bound to a life without physical athletic competition just a whole new outlook. Over a period of 4 years, the program grew to serve over 1,000 athletes. I am hopeful that this legislation will serve as a catalyst for the same type of growth all across the Commonwealth of Virginia and throughout our country.
I would like to recognize Paul Marretti from my district who is a Special Olympics global messenger. Paul educates individuals around the world about the mission, philosophy and benefits of Special Olympics. He is a true leader who is committed to educating people, including Members of Congress, about this incredible program as well as introducing it and attracting more athletes to it.
I would also like to recognize Mr. Roy Zeidman, Mr. Rick Jeffreys and everyone at Special Olympics Virginia who make such a difference in so many lives. I am hopeful that this legislation will further help all of them in their efforts.