HomeLocalPonca PostSwitzer To Be HonoredSwitzer To Be HonoredWed, August 24, 2016 by Lyman JamesSHARE NOW From A News ReleaseTulsa, Oklahoma. The inaugural Gold Medal Gala benefiting Special Olympics Oklahoma will be September 22, 2016 at Southern Hills Country Club, 2636 E. 61st St., Tulsa, OK 74136. The black-tie event will honor Barry Switzer and celebrate people with intellectual disabilities and the Special Olympics movement in Oklahoma.BARRY SWITZER is the honoree of the Gold Medal Gala, and he will be recognized for his years of commitment to support Special Olympics Oklahoma, and his volunteering as Head Coach for 40 years. No one could express this type of volunteerism better than Coach Switzer himself, “If you can’t be touched by the Special Olympics experience, you don’t have red blood running through your system.”MICHAEL, JR. is the featured entertainer for the Gold Medal Gala. Comedian Michael Jr. has appeared on The Tonight Show, Comedy Central, Oprah, The Late Late Show, and at Christian venues such as Catalyst Conference, Gateway Church and the Willow Creek Leadership Summit. He’s a man comfortable on any stage with material clean enough to work in churches, funny enough to work in clubs. He’s a native of Grand Rapids, Michigan married and proud dad of five children.ELLEN PAYNTER is the parent of Chris Paynter, Special Olympics athlete. Ellen is a formidable advocate for people with intellectual disabilities. She champions her son’s accomplishments along with the intense love of a parent and enthusiasm of a fan. When Ellen speaks about the benefits of Special Olympics Oklahoma, she speaks with the voice of experience and a great love of the program. She is often on the sidelines of competition events cheering for Chris and cheering for all of the other athletes as well. Ellen is a volunteer, a fundraiser, an athlete, a coach and a beloved member of the Special Olympics Oklahoma family.CHRIS PAYNTER is a Special Olympics adult athlete and fierce competitor since he was 8-years-old. On November 3, 2011 Chris was named the International Athlete of the Year. The award was presented by the Law Enforcement International Executive council during the International Law Enforcement Torch Run Conference in Calgary, Canada. Chris was the first special Olympics athlete to receive this prestigious international award. He resides in Edmond, Oklahoma and is a member of the Oklahoma Law Enforcement Torch Run Committee. Chris has been invited to more than 70 speaking engagements. He was one of only ten Special Olympics athletes invited to carry the Flame of Hope on the final Leg for the 2009 Special Olympics World Winter Games in Boise, Idaho. He was named the 2014 Special Olympics Oklahoma athlete of the Year at Summer Games Opening Ceremonies, OSU’s Gallagher Iba Arena in Stillwater.JOHN HOLCOMB is the emcee for the Gold Medal Gala. Holcomb is Sports Director of the News On 6 Sport’s team. He has been co-emcee at Special Olympics Oklahoma’s Summer Games Opening Ceremonies for more than 15 years. Holcomb, along with Larry Reece from Oklahoma State University, has volunteered his unique talents and humor to the stage at Opening Ceremonies throughout the years for the enjoyment of Special Olympics athletes, parents, friends, coaches, volunteers, sponsors and guests.For tickets or table sponsorship information, contact Special Olympics Oklahoma at 918-481-124 or online at www.sook.org/gala.