The Distinguished Service Awards are the most prestigious awards given by Special Olympics Montana. Nominations are received from Special Olympics Montana volunteers, coaches, parents, and athletes. A selection committee is appointed to review the submissions and is charged with the difficult task of selecting a winner in each award category.
2017 Distinguished Service Award Winners
Athlete of the Year – Nick Roberts, Great Falls Nick Roberts has a remarkable history with Special Olympics. He has been training and competing in Special Olympics for 15 years. First with Special Olympics Alaska and the past 10 years with Special Olympics Montana. Nick competes year-round in basketball, snowshoeing, athletics, bocce, and bowling on the Great Falls Wild Hornets team. In addition to competing, he supports his team by participation in fundraising opportunities like the Chevy Raffle ticket sales, Tip-a-Cop events, and Polar Plunge. As trained Global Messenger and member of the State Youth Activation Committee, Nick advocates for his fellow athletes and serves as role model for his peers.
Coach of the Year – Denny Hogan Denny Hogan has been involved with Special Olympics Montana for over 20 years. Coaching multiple seasons per year, and impacting the lives of countless athletes and unified teammates. During his tenure with the Great Falls Lions, he has coached athletics, soccer, basketball, cycling, and softball. Denny also has coached twice at the national level. Coaching athletics in 2006 at the Special Olympics National Games and soccer in 2010.In addition to being a dedicated coach for the Great Falls Schools District Special Olympics team (the GF Lions), Denny teaches 6th-grade at Riverview Elementary.
Youth Volunteer of the Year – Jayson Wanner Jayson Wanner, a junior at Great Falls High School, was selected for his support of SOMT both in and out of school. Since he began volunteering in the 4th grade, he has taken on many roles and responsibilities. Jayson is a dedicated unified partner, coach, volunteer, and State Youth Activation Committee member.