In the fall of 1999, Richard Guthlein had a dream. A Special Olympics athlete for decades, he’d competed in athletics, basketball, volleyball, floor hockey, power lifting, bowling, cycling, aquatics and bocce, but there was one more he wanted to add to his resume. With a long held love for soccer, he dreamed of playing soccer for Special Olympics, but there was one problem: Guilford/Greensboro’s local program did not have a soccer team.
Guthlein shared his desire to start team with a familiar source of support in his family. His niece and nephew had played soccer competitively for years and they immediately stepped up to coach Greensboro’s rookie soccer team.
For Guthlein, this was nothing out of the ordinary. His family had made Special Olympics and helping others a large part of their life for years.
“Special Olympics has given Richard a venue to hone his athletic skills, make and preserve friendships, and develop the confidence of knowing a skill has been acquired and a goal attained. Our family couldn’t imagine doing anything other than support him and Special Olympics as a whole,” explained his sister, Lynda Guthlein-Garguilo.
And support Special Olympics they did. With his niece and nephew coaching them every step of the way, Guthlein’s dream team won a gold medal at the state-level competition!
“Richard was especially thrilled with his medal because he wanted to play the game before the team existed. It fulfilled a dream for him and he was just so proud. And we were so proud of him for his determination,” continued Guthlein-Garguilo.
His family has plenty of reasons to be proud of Guthlein, chief among them his community involvement, something he initiates himself wholeheartedly.
Guthlein-Garguilo explains, “He’s a very social and sociable person and enjoys helping and being part of an initiative. He’s actively involved in his church and is a member of the Knights of Columbus.”
Special Olympics has given so much to Guthlein and his family throughout his 45 year long career that it’s not surprising he chooses to give back to the organization by supporting fundraising efforts and even volunteering in the local Special Olympics NC office.
Special Olympics has been a dream come true for both Richard Guthlein and his family!
Congratulations Richard, on being named the 2015 Special Olympics North Carolina August Athlete of the Month!
Musician/Singer: Elvis Presley-he won a talent contest singing an Elvis song.
Restaurant: McDonalds-he worked there for several years.
Day of the Week: Sunday-they mean breakfast out, going to church and an afternoon nap.