42°F
weather icon Partly Cloudy

A special man resigns from a special program

After 20 years with Special Olympics, the Pahrump Valley Special Olympics area coordinator, Jim Soltz, is stepping down from his position due to health reasons.

Soltz had volunteered for Special Olympics to spend time with his daughter Samantha, who is a special olympian. He is stepping down after suffering a major heart attack. He is now home recovering, but his doctors are not letting him out of the house and say his recovery will be slow.

“It may be February before I am allowed to leave the house, except for doctors’ appointments,” he said. “Thank you for the wonderful get well card. It raised my spirits with hope, although it is predicated that my recovery will be lengthy, we are taking one day at a time. Lastly, it is unknown just what the future will bring but I hope I can be an example of the athlete’s oath, ‘Let me win, but if I can not win, let me be brave in the attempt.'”

Soltz said anyone interested in taking over his voluntary position should contact Harry Mong at (702) 474-0690, ext. 202. Soltz has been the area director for two seasons. One of his major accomplishments was bringing back the Special Olympics Torch Run back to Pahrump Valley and revitalizing Special Olympics fundraising in the valley. He also introduced some new sports to the area, like soccer and softball.

Although Special Olympics never turns down an athlete due to cost, Soltz spent hours working on making Pahrump self-sufficient. He estimated it costs $5,000 to send Pahrump’s special olympians to the Reno Summer games each year and he wanted Pahrump Valley to pay for its own athletes to attend.

Last year Pahrump was able to make his fundraising goals, in which Soltz had hoped to cover the cost of at least the Reno games. Thanks to the efforts of Jim and all the Special Olympics supporters and volunteers, the Pahrump organization raised $13,000, which exceeded his goals. For his efforts he was named the Special Olympics Volunteer of the Year for Southern Nevada and nominated for overall volunteer of the year for 2015.

Southern Nevada Special Olympics said this about him: “Jim has a special place in his heart for Special Olympics. As the Special Olympics area director for Pahrump, he strove to improve the program in order to provide the athletes and volunteers with a positive experience.”

Many well wishers and supporters of Special Olympics in Pahrump praised Soltz for his hard work and said they would miss him.

Teresa Klem, who has a son involved with Special Olympics, said Jim is certainly going to be missed as director of Special Olympics.

“I feel he has really tried to bring our program here to the 21st century you could say,” Klem said. “By utilizing social media to get the word out about our athletes as to what they are doing and to communicate with parents. He also has tried to make the public realize about the fundraising we do and how the money is used for our athletes here in Pahrump.”

Bruce Cox, the Special Olympics basketball coach said the next area director will have very large shoes to fill.

“Jim always went above and beyond to do anything he could to help with every sport,” Cox said. “Having Jim as the area director was a true blessing and he spent countless hours making sure the buildings and fields were secured for all of the sports programs.”

Longtime volunteer Don Briskey said he will pray for Soltz and his family during this difficult period.

“I believe Jim leaving is an epic loss to our sports program,” Briskey said.

“Jim is a very kind, loving individual who gave so much of himself and his time to Special Olympics,” said Lesa Starnes, mother of a special Olympian.

-Contact sports editor Vern Hee at vhee@pvtimes.com

 

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
THE LATEST
NIAA cancels state tournaments, makes plans for regions

Revamped region tournaments would be held but state tournaments would be canceled under contingency plans being developed to salvage something out of the spring high school sports season.

Pahrump Valley athletes find ways to fill their days

Finding ways to stay active and preparing for the future are helping to fill the days of Pahrump Valley High School softball players who find themselves with more time on their hands than they have had in spring in years.

Tom Rysinski: Some of Nye County’s best sports moments were on tracks

By next week, this space will be filled by something other than sports, for the simple reason that there is news happening. Sports, not so much. But when and if there is something to report, even if it’s just further cancellations and postponements, we will, of course, get that information in the paper and on our website.

Pahrump’s Andersen, Norton win horseshoes tournament at cook-off

In what might have been the last competitive event held in Pahrump before the COVID-19 pandemic shut down sports, Dennis Andersen and Mike Norton of Pahrump won first place in the Silver State Chili Cook-Off Horseshoes Tournament on March 14 at Petrack Park.

NIAA makes contingency plans for competiton after April 30

The Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association, still hoping to conduct competition during the spring season, has been putting together contingency plans based on schools opening May 1, the day after Gov. Steve Sisolak’s most recent “Stay at Home” order expires.

Tonopah quarterback Otteson to continue career at Doane

College sports recruiting is not what it used to be, but it worked out well for Tonopah High School senior Dillan Otteson, who found a football home via the internet.

Pahrump Valley’s alumni coaches empathize with players

Before the schools were closed, spring sports were shut down, first by Pahrump Valley High School, then by the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association.

NIAA making plans for shortened spring season

With schools being closed for an undetermined period of time, the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association is making plans for how to handle spring sports should they reopen with enough time left for competition.