Linda Brandon worked tirelessly for many years to ensure that young people of all abilities could benefit from inclusion on sports teams.
Equity, respect, acceptance and dignity were the goals when Linda founded the Red Wolves bowling team in 1997, bringing the Special Olympics to Haliburton County.
During her time with the organization, she coached and mentored many athletes, and recruited dedicated community coaches and volunteers. Obtaining her Level 2 National Coaching Certification through Special Olympics Ontario, she ran weekly practices and organized seasonal tournaments.
Linda was a coach at the Provincial level for the 2004 Provincial Games where the bowling team she coached achieved Gold medal standing. One of her athletes, Carrie Crego, was selected to compete at the 2006 National Games in Brandon Manitoba, and brought home a Bronze medal.
Linda raised awareness for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities by participating in events such as Ontario Law Enforcement Torch Run. She built partnerships with community organizations, started high school inclusion programs, and organized local competitions. Because of Linda’s efforts in bringing Special Olympics to the area, Haliburton County now has Special Olympics teams in curling, golf, shuffleboard and softball.
Her community spirit focusses on empowerment, diversity and excellence, and sets an example on how to achieve them. She organized the Terry Fox Run and arranged for Darrell Fox to come to Minden to promote the 20th anniversary of the run which energized the entire county. She also helped students with intellectual abilities get outside and stay active by inviting them to join her own children for swimming and skating.
Whether in her role as an Educational Assistant, a Special Olympics coach, or a friend, Linda modelled ways to create inclusive communities with open hearts and minds. She built a foundation of sport in Haliburton County for athletes of all abilities.