Dan Burgland of Monmouth has been named winner of 2012 Special Olympics Illinois Lifetime Achievement Award. He was honored at a reception held on June 15 before the Special Olympics Illinois Summer Games Opening Ceremonies at Illinois State University in Normal.
The Special Olympics Illinois Lifetime Service award is given to an outstanding individual who encompasses the spirit of Special Olympics Illinois and has shown their dedication to the organization and to serving its mission and goals. Awards are given based on nominee’s interest in and support of the abilities and accomplishments of SO ILL athletes as demonstrated through significant contributions. The individual also needs to have at least 20 years of service with Special Olympics Illinois.
Burgland has nearly 40 years of experience as a Special Olympics volunteer, first joining in 1973 when asked by Hiram Brownell, founder of Western/Area 4 and Burgland’s nominator to be on the Area committee. In his nomination letter, Brownell says Burgland has had many roles in which he has filled with “leadership and support,” working as a member for several subcommittees such as awards, competition and training, vision, long-range planning and rules.
Burgland has also served as a referee in softball, volleyball, basketball and track and field. Brownell also noted that Burgland “was and still is the type of person that was always the first one at the event and the last one to leave.” Burgland was also a pioneer in officiating and creating rules and interpretations for Special Olympics Illinois.
Burgland is co-owner of Burgland Farms, which he owns with his brother. He is a year-round umpire in the state of Illinois, which he also has been involved in for more than 40 years.
Special Olympics Illinois is a not-for-profit organization offering year-round training and competition in 19 sports for more than 21,000 athletes with intellectual disabilities and more than 11,000 Young Athletes ages 2-7 with and without intellectual disabilities. Special Olympics changes lives by empowering people with intellectual disabilities to realize their full potential in sports and in life. Special Olympics programs enhance physical fitness, motor skills, self-confidence, social skills and encourage family and community support. If you are interested in learning more about Special Olympics Illinois, volunteering or providing financial support to help make Special Olympics programs possible, contact your local Special Olympics agency, call 800-394-0562 or visit our website at www.soill.org.