Tim Bachmeier and Mel Moran recently received prestigious awards from Special Olympics North Dakota (SOND).

Tim was named to the Hall of Fame. He has been a Special Olympics athlete for 46 years, starting in South Dakota and representing the state at the 1991 National Games in St. Paul, Minnesota on their slowpitch softball team.

After moving to Wahpeton, Tim was a North Dakota athlete at the 1999 National Games in North Carolina, winning a gold medal in bowling. He has competed in over 90 events in more than 50 statewide competitions during his prestigious career.

Tim was an excellent basketball player. In a district tournament game at Ellendale Trinity Bible College a few years ago, Fargo beat Wahpeton 16-12 in one game. It actually was Fargo 16, Tim Bachmeier 12 as he scored all our points.

He has been one of the state’s best bocce players and a couple years was the state champion in the highest division. Tim is fearless and willing to try new sports, even cross-country skiing. His excellent shot put form has resulted in numerous medals and he has evolved from running the 100 meter dash to a 400 meter walker, always role modeling an active, healthy lifestyle.

It has been a hoot to watch his interaction with the NDSCS women’s basketball players who volunteered for bowling this fall. He has more moves than Elvis Presley as he fakes high fives to finger groom his receding hairline and incorporates fist, forearm and elbow bumps as celebratory gestures.

Tim is a familiar face as a photograph of him crossing the finish line with his hands raised in the air in celebration captures Special Olympics so much that it was chosen to promote the organization as a large poster. He was the SOND Male Athlete of the Year in 2005.

He has been a Red River Human Services Foundation employee since 1993 and is proud to show that people with disabilities can be incredible, dependable and hard-working employees.

Mel Moran was selected as Female Athlete of the Year. She is a walking story of inspiration and accomplishment, as per Kathy Meagher, SOND Executive Director.

Mel has been a Special Olympics athlete in Williston, Bismarck and now Wahpeton, which she calls home. Sports include volleyball, basketball, bocce, bowling and track-field.

She has been a role model for losing weight the right way by eating a healthy diet and exercising. We are ecstatic she uses Special Olympics as an inspiration to get exercise and as a motive for becoming the best athlete possible. Improved health, wellness and fitness are her goals.

Mel’s positive mantra has been “you can do anything you set your mind to” which is a good reminder to all of us. Her nickname is “Gabby” due to her outgoing personality and we also refer to her as “Animal” when she plays so splendidly and aggressive in basketball. She takes defense and rebounding to a new level.

She is an avid walker and has participated in 5K and 10K walks. Her ultimate goal is to walk a full marathon. We like runners!

Just this week, Mel called and said she would like to be a candidate for any national and international games opportunities. She loves challenges!

Mel is an excellent speaker and made Special Olympics presentations to the Headwater Lions Club and Philanthropic Educational Organization (PEO). It was good to sit back and hear an athlete’s perspective about the value of Special Olympics. Big picture things like health, confidence, fun, social growth, leadership and accomplishment were proudly spoken.

She works at the NDSCS Dining Hall and speaks to students about the importance of respectful language and treatment of people on campus.

We are very proud of Tim Bachmeier and Mel Moran. Congratulations to both for reaching the pinnacle of their sports careers!

Wayne Beyer is the director of Wahpeton Parks and Rec.

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