PITTSBURG, Kan. — An inductee of the Special Olympics Hall of Fame returns to Pittsburg to hit the lanes with more than 200 local athletes.

“To get that time to shine, as athletes, this may be all the time they get,” said Duran Dew, Special Olympics Hall of Fame inductee.

As a former “Special Olympic athlete” and a current “Special Olympics Hall of Fame inductee” — that’s why Duran Dew does what he does, volunteering at events he once participated in.

“It’s them, the athletes, that drive me to come down and see them compete. You see the smiles, you see the interaction with other athletes and their parents because, for some of them, when it comes to athletics, this may be all they get,” said Dew.

Dew was inducted into the Hall of Fame back in the early ’90s for his accomplishments in powerlifting, track and field, and basketball.

He said despite not living locally anymore, he still helps out whenever he can.

“When I found out that there is something going on and I’m able to work around my schedule, I like to be there and help out as much as possible. I live in Kansas City, I drove down here, worked overnight last night, so I can be here to help out however they need,” said Dew.

Wednesday’s event featured athletes aged 8 through 22, from 20 different school districts across Southeast Kansas.

With event organizers saying they’re seeing more athletes than ever getting involved locally.

“I think the coaches are advocating, the schools having volunteers be here, athletes are bringing medals back to school. I just think the word of mouth is growing and giving athletes opportunities to come and be in a Special Olympics event,” said Olivia Ryan, Special Olympics Kansas Southeast Director.

The regional youth bowling event will conclude Wednesday at 1:00 p.m., with every athlete taking home a medal.