On January 8, 2020, Special Olympics Maryland lost a champion for our athletes and our mission, when Anne Arundel County Area Director, Gregg Meade lost his 19 month battle with cancer. I would like to share this message that I sent to all of Area Directors who as volunteers serve in a similar capacity of leading their volunteer teams to run their community based programs across the state. As you will see Gregg had a tremendous impact on thousands of lives.
January 8, 2020
Dear Area Directors,
Today we lost a friend and valued member of the Special Olympics Maryland family member. For the last 19 months Gregg Meade fought an incredible fight against cancer but the clock ran out this morning, so tonight Gregg rests more peacefully and free of pain having tried to beat the crap out of the cancer. During that time Gregg was steadfast in his determination to continue efforts to lead the Anne Arundel County Program which he did in many ways including at events like the Anne Arundel County Spring Games at the Naval Academy and Duckpin Bowling to name a few.
Words can never capture the essence of the impact that Gregg had on thousands of lives during his years as a volunteer. But consider that simple fact, he impacted thousands of lives, probably tens of thousands of lives through his efforts, all as a volunteer. I marvel at the dedication of people like Gregg who commit so much time and energy to ensure that our athletes have high quality sports opportunities and experiences. Gregg’s commitment extended beyond his Anne Arundel County athletes to all athletes across the state as he served on the Sports Committee and as Area Director he regularly attended our Area Leadership meetings. For me that is the essence of Gregg’s legacy…consistent dedicated service to our athletes. Through sport, his efforts have helped create a world where opportunity is not limited by disability. Gregg, is a hall of famer in my book. He had a profound impact on so many lives. And he was the epitome of a fighter…he never gave up, never.
I was at Anne Arundel Medical Center yesterday (Tuesday, January 7th) at a point where Gregg had been admitted to the ICU so I was unable to see him but I did speak to his wife Martha and their son Nicholas. Martha and Nick could use your thoughtful prayers as they mourn Gregg’s passing and cope with the loss of someone that they loved so much and held so dear. Their deep pain certainly reflects the love that Gregg, Martha and Nicholas shared together as an inseparable family.
So tonight as I go to bed and reflect on a life well lived I am grateful for having had the chance to know Gregg for the last seven years. I am better for having known him and will continue to be inspired to be better for our athletes because of him.
I am moved to reflect on our mission statement, in particular the second half of the statement, the part that states:
…giving them (the athletes) continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community.
Gregg made sure to deliver the promise of our mission to our athletes, families and the community every day…in particular he dedicated his life to making sure that our athletes experienced joy and shared their gifts with their families and the rest of the world. And for that we are all better. Thank you Gregg Meade…you will be missed.
With prayerful thoughts,
James C. Schmutz
President & CEO
This article was written by Julie Oltmann