by Troy Fedderson
J.S. Engebretson, communications and marketing manager for the College of Engineering, tapped her professional expertise to serve as a press chief at the volleyball venue during the Special Olympics' 2010 USA National Games hosted in Lincoln.
“We had more than 11,000 register for about 8,500 volunteer openings,” said Sarah Leeth, the organization's vice president of marketing and communications. “Special Olympics’ core is rooted in volunteerism. We simply could not do this without our volunteers.”
A presentation by Leeth at a campus meeting pushed Engebretson to volunteer.
Engebretson’s husband, Alec, and daughter, Elle, helped at the track and volleyball venues, respectively. The volunteer week counted as the family’s summer vacation.
“I have never been involved with Special Olympics before, but Sarah Leeth’s presentation intrigued me,” Engebretson said. “I love athletics and I really liked the idea of competing just for the joy of it. I think it was the enthusiasm of the athletes that really drew me in.”
Engebretson volunteers regularly, mostly with the assistance of her family dog, Pogo. The golden retriever is a Healing Heart Therapy Dog and visits schools, libraries, nursing homes, hospitals, assisted living homes and individuals.