Wisconsin Life host Angela Fitzgerald cheers on athletes and checks out the competition at the Special Olympics State Summer Games in Stevens Point. Fitzgerald gets the chance to talk to athletes from the state who have been coming to the games for years, including Marquis Garner. Garner is not only an athlete but a published author. His book Have You Ever Wished You Were Someone Else?: Carrying the Weight of Autism, tells his story of what life is like with autism.
Erica Patrick and Kira Janisch talk with Fitzgerald about attending a Unified Champion school and how their school works hard to promote connectivity and inclusion regardless of ability.
While dance isn’t an event at the Special Olympics State Summer Games, dance is an important part of Mari Koopman’s life. When Mari’s special needs arose as a child, she and her family searched for years to find an accessible dance class. Now Mari attends Kehl School of Dance. She learns all kinds of dance including ballet, Broadway style and this year, Flamenco. Mari describes dance as being “in her heart and soul” says her mother. For Mari, dance helps her to become “Mari the dancer” not just a girl in a wheelchair.
Ted Thuli has a different type of hobby. He not only collects historical items, but also historical buildings. Thuli is working to make Darlington a Wisconsin attraction by restoring old structures. One building in Darlington has proved itself to be destination-worthy, finding itself on American Pickers, HGTV and now Wisconsin Life: Ted Thuli’s home. Thuli lives in a former cheese cooler. Inside he has a wide variety of collectables. Thuli refers to his collecting habits as an “addiction” and when asked why he does what he does, he explains he has a passion for history.
Angel Flores and Leticia Torres have a passion as well; a passion for homemade food. After struggling to find great tasting tortillas in stores, the pair took things into their own hands. They grow their own corn and hand-make each tortilla. Now they are owners of Tortillas Los Angles, making and selling tortillas made from scratch to appreciative customers.
Churches and bars have more in common than you would expect. New Hope pastor Rebecca Rutter explains they both are open and welcome to all, provide connection and a sense of community and are located all throughout Wisconsin. In De Pere, these two seemingly opposite organizations are unlikely neighbors. Sharing a building and parking lot, one door away from each other, the two establishments happily coexist. The pub manager, Austin DeCleene explains with a church and a bar next door to each other, “You can’t get more Wisconsin than that.”
Wisconsin Life Host Angela Fitzgerald shares her experience attending the Special Olympics Wisconsin State Summer Games in Stevens Point. She talks with athletes and organizers about their participation in this event. Fitzgerald also learns about the Healthy Athletes program that offers free health screenings and education for athletes.