Hi, Leigh! Welcome to iMeet. Tell us about yourself...

I am twenty eight years young and single. and my family lives in Gilbertsville. I attended Marshall County High School. I was raised with my brother and sister, and my step-sister lived with us as well. 

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I don’t have children but I have two nieces, a nephew, and some little cousins that I am close to. We have family game days and we girls love kicking the boys’ butts in basketball.

Congrats on being named the Special Olympics Coach of the Year for the entire state of Kentucky! How did you become involved with SOKY?

Thank you.  I attended Special Olympics six years ago. I went to a practice with one of the athletes that night and just sat on a bench. I think I was the only person even watching. They were expanding from one team to two and they really needed an extra coach. They then asked if I would like to help, so I thought “why not!”  We now have four teams and have come so far.

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What sports do you help coach? What's your favorite?

I help coach soccer, basketball, softball, and have coached bocce in the past. I am a unified golf and bowling partner as well. It is so hard to pick which is my favorite. To be honest every time the sports season changes, I am ready for a new one to begin.

iMeetIts fantastic that you were awarded “coach of the year”...

I was very surprised.  I know there are so many wonderful coaches and volunteers, so I thought, “Wow!”

You've been working with SOKY athletes for six years now. What keeps you coming back each year?

Lots of things keep me coming back. Once you volunteer, you don’t want to stop. These athletes are so awesome and dedicated. It is really neat to see some of them come out of their shell too.  There have been a few that were so quiet when I met them and now they are much more comfortable and outgoing. The love that we all have for one another is pretty great too - we are all like one big family.

iMeetThe most rewarding part of helping with Special Olympics is all the friendships I have made. I love seeing these athletes grow. Special Olympics is really life changing for sure. I can’t tell you how much it has changed my life and so many peoples I know! The most difficult part… our Murray Special Olympics coaches and volunteers are a great team, so it isn’t too difficult.

Tell us about your day job when you’re not coaching?

I am a Case Manager for Community Alternatives of Kentucky in Benton. I help coordinate services for those on waivers. I also help monitor their services and make sure their health, safety, and welfare are not being hindered. I serve people all over the region. I started here in April of 2018. 

What do you like to do in your free time?

In my free team I like to hang-out with my grandparents, have family game days, watch Racer basketball, and I love to swing on swings. I literally swing in all weather. I've always loved it.

iMeetAre you a fan of the cold temps or are you ready for spring?

I wish it was only cold/snowy on Christmas and the rest of the year could be warm. Thank goodness for heated blankets and socks!

It's 10 pm on a Friday night. Where might we find Leigh?

10 pm on a Friday night?  Hmmm. To be honest a lot of times I am already in bed or getting into something. I am not the kind to sit around at all.

I know you're an inspiration for so many. Who was your biggest inspiration in life?

My biggest inspiration… that is really hard. I have so many, I literally could never pick one.  I would definitely have to say my whole family. They are the best! (especially my favorites: Drake, Jada, Van, and Sophie) Of course the wonderful people I coach with that give so much, and of course the athletes. They are all inspiring to so many. I love them all.

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Congratulations again on being named Coach of The Year, Leigh.  We wish you every success with your teams. Thanks for being a super volunteer with Special Olympics - it's a fantastic organization.