County Executive Blakeman and Viscardi student athletes announce return of annual Games at Mitchel Field Athletic Complex in June
April 26, 2022
ALBERTSON, NY – Nassau County Executive Bruce A. Blakeman and student athletes from the Henry Viscardi School at The Viscardi Center today announced plans for the 2022 Nassau County Games for the Physically Challenged, which will be taking place June 3rd and 4th at the Mitchel Field Athletic Complex and Nassau Community College.
Competitors travel from throughout New York State to Nassau County to participate in a weekend of fun athletic events alongside friends and family. There is great excitement surrounding the 36th Nassau County Games for the Physically Challenged, especially since this is the first year back after two years because of COVID-19. New York State funding was eliminated for the Games several years ago and the office of the Nassau County Executive, with the help of private sector sponsors, has kept the Games alive.
County Executive Blakeman stated, “The student athletes who participate in the Nassau County Games for the Physically Challenged are truly inspirational to watch.” Blakeman continued. “I encourage all residents to come down to Mitchel Field June 3-4, to see the student athletes in action and join in on the fun! I would also like to extend thanks and gratitude to the generous sponsors that have allowed us to keep the Games alive here in Nassau County.”
With the general support of corporations such as Elias Properties, PSEG Long Island, the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick, The Theresa Foundation, UBS, Bethpage Federal Credit Union, the NY Yankees and the Dee Foundation, athletes will compete in track, field, slalom, archery, swimming, wheelchair basketball and table tennis. Participants, ranging from ages 5 to 21, have a range of disabilities.
In its 36th year, the Games will take place in part due to contributions from King Kullen—America’s First Supermarket—which has been a long-time sponsor helping to feed the athletes, while Hofstra University has committed to housing the athletes with only minimal costs for maintenance. Nassau Community College is the venue hosting swimming, wheelchair basketball and table tennis events as well as the closing ceremonies. The Nassau County Department of Health and Medical Reserve Corp volunteers will once again work to provide onsite medical care and response during the games. In addition, NICE Bus will provide shuttle bus service for participants and has also generously donated $5,000 toward the Opening Ceremonies.
There is no cost to participate, and the numbers of athletes increase each year, boasting over 1,000. The dedication brought forth by the parents, families, teachers, coaches, and volunteers are critical to the success of the Games.
Operating with a small staff, the Games are facilitated by those who return year after year to a program they love.
“We are so excited to be back after a two-year pause and thank County Executive Blakeman for his support of this unique program. The athletes are ready to return to the thrill of the competition, the excitement of winning a medal and the comradery of the Games!” said Susan Maxwell, Director, Games for the Physically Challenged.
For more information, please visit Nassau County Games for the Physically Challenged website at www.nassaucountypcgames.com.
Statements in Support of the 2022 Games
“The Viscardi Center is honored to host the press conference announcing the long-awaited return of the Nassau County Games for the Physically Challenged! Over the years, dozens of Henry Viscardi School students have competed in the games, distinguished themselves through their performance, and in the process, created lifelong memories,” said Dr. Chris Rosa, President & CEO of The Viscardi Center. “As a hub for the disability community on Long Island, Viscardi is proud to celebrate the Games’ affirmation of disability identity, pride, and culture through inclusive sports.”
“Collaborating with Nassau County and our non-profit and corporate partners and hosting the Games for the Physically Challenged is a treasured Long Island tradition,” said Hofstra University President Susan Poser. “We look forward to welcoming these dedicated athletes to our campus this June and to cheering them on.”
“The participants in the Nassau County Games for the Physically Challenged are the best examples of what it means to be an athlete. We are grateful for their participation and inspired by their commitment to excellence. Nassau Community College is honored to once again be a part of these inspiring Games and looks forward to continuing to support the current and future needs of the County and its residents,” said Donna M, Haugen, Esq., Officer in Charge, Nassau Community College.
Martin Elias, President of Ike, Molly and Steven Elias Foundation and Elias Properties stated, “Ike, Molly & Steven Elias Foundation and Elias Properties are proud to be long-time sponsors of the Nassau County Empire State Games for the Physically Challenged. It is so gratifying to see how enthused and excited all the athletes are each year as participants in these games. The games truly make a significant difference in their lives, and we are very happy to help support the Games.”
William McDermott, President, Friendly Sons of St. Patrick on Long Island stated, “The Society of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick of Long Island are honored to continue support of the Nassau County Games for the Physically Challenged. After the Games had to be paused the last several years, we look forward to seeing all of these great athletes compete at the 2022 Games. We can’t wait to see the torch lit and Games begin on June 2nd!”
“We are so glad the Games are returning to Long Island this year and hope our involvement will serve to light up the athletes’ competitive spirit and energize their quest for gold and greatness,” said Suzanne Brienza, Director of Customer Experience and Utility Marketing, PSEG Long Island. “Supporting our communities and the causes our customers care about is part of PSEG Long Island’s core commitments. We look forward to joining you in cheering on the participants in June!”
“The NICE Bus/Transdev Team has supported the games from our first year in 2012. We believe our role in the community goes beyond being the public bus operator in Nassau County. Playing a role in the Games is part of our Mission to support the communities we serve. All 850 Employees of NICE Bus/Transdev are extremely happy to have the games back for 2022!” said Jack Khzouz, CEO, NICE Bus.
“Bethpage Federal Credit Union is proud to be a sponsor of the 2022 Nassau County Games for the Physically Challenged. We are happy to be part of the exciting energy and spirit that the athletes bring to these games each year. This effort aligns so closely with Bethpage’s values and commitment to inclusion. We congratulate all the participants as they strive to do their best to reach their goals” said Linda Armyn, Senior Vice President Corporate Affairs, Bethpage Federal Credit Union.
Elizabeth Einhart, Executive Director, The Theresa Foundation stated, “The Theresa Foundation is proud to support the Nassau County Games for the Physically Challenged and celebrates and applauds their 36 years of ability! The Theresa Foundation provides grants in the arts and recreation for children with special needs locally, nationally, and internationally. Because children are our future, we believe in nurturing each child and the inalienable rights of artistic expression and physical recreation for all. With our sponsorship of the Games this year we are one step closer to a world where all children, regardless of abilities, have access to opportunities in the arts and recreation.”
“Once again, UBS is pleased and proud to sponsor this wonderful event,” said John Houlihan, the Long Island Market Head, UBS. “After being sidelined for two years, our employee volunteers feel very fortunate to be right alongside the athletes as they compete again – the performances displayed never cease to inspire us. This is one of our favorite community events, and we are honored to be a part of it.”
“The Dee Foundation is so pleased to know the Games are happening again and we’re thrilled to be a sponsor of the track and field event,” said Jim Macri, Board Member, The Dee Foundation. “Good luck to all the athletes and have fun seeing old friends and making new acquaintances!”
“Inclusivity is a core Henry Schein value, as reflected through our many commitments in support of the special needs community including and especially programs that help physically challenged youth develop confidence and self-esteem,” said Jennifer Kim Field, Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility, Henry Schein, Inc. “As a health care solutions company, we recognize the important role sports play in improving overall health and celebrate the important work of the Nassau County Empire State Games for the Physically Challenged. With our global headquarters here on Long Island, we are dedicated to helping our local communities thrive and look forward to engaging in meaningful inclusivity-related conversations with community leaders such as those sparked by these Games.”
“The C.U.R.B. organization is thrilled to welcome back the athletes, volunteers, and organizers of the Nassau Games. C.U.R.B wishes all a fun and exciting event,” said Rich Papetti, President, C.U.R.B. Organization.
“It is a great pleasure to support this event as we look forward to celebrating 36 years. For decades the Bussani Family has been impacted by the smiling faces, determination, and hard work of the athletes,” said Daniel Bussani, CEO, The Bussani Mobility Team. “The athletes are an incredible inspiration to so many well beyond the disabled community. For that the Bussani family says best of luck and congratulations! We can’t wait to see those medals!”
“Inconsideration of the 2-year interruption to these GAMES that has concluded, it is with gratitude that we welcome back to Nassau County this incredibly spirited event, VICTORY to all the participants, they are the ‘stars’ of the show,” said Bryan Silver, Owner, Ecopest, NY
“Rivkin Radler wholeheartedly supports the 2022 Nassau County Games for the Physically Challenged,” said Evan H. Krinick, Managing Partner, Rivkin Radler LLP. “We applaud the Games’ mission and all the benefits it brings to the community.”
“This year the Games for the Physically Challenged will be celebrating its 36th Anniversary! Nassau County has been the site of the first program of its kind in the nation. The Games would not be possible without the support of County Executive Bruce Blakeman and the many volunteers who come out every year to cheer on our Star Athletes, who inspire us! Congrats to All!” said Susan Gordon Ryan, Founder and former Director of the Games.
“It is a pleasure once again to be part of the Nassau County Games for these wonderful children. I am happy to partner with the County to keep the Games going each year and thank County Executive Blakeman for continuing to support the Games,” said Angela Melledy, Publisher, Able Newspaper
About The Viscardi Center
The Viscardi Center, a network of non-profit organizations based in Albertson, provides a lifespan of services that educate, employ, and empower people with disabilities. Its programs and services include Pre-K through High School education, school-to-work transition services, vocational training, career counseling and placement, entrepreneurship, and workforce diversification assistance to children, adolescents, and adults with disabilities and businesses. It was founded in 1952 by Dr. Henry Viscardi, Jr. who himself wore prosthetic legs, served as disability advisor to eight U.S. Presidents, from Franklin D. Roosevelt to Jimmy Carter, and became one of the world’s leading advocates for people with disabilities.