King County #RiseWithUs highlights

Dear Athletes, Coaches, Family Members, Volunteers, Games Partners, Supporters of the Games, and Greater Seattle Community:

Thank you! The 2018 USA Games said, ‘Rise with Us’ and you did – with open hearts and minds. You were magnificent hosts.

Chairman Tim Shriver, Special Olympics International


Over the first week of this month, we hosted approximately 4,000 athletes and coaches, 15,000 volunteers and 70,000 spectators for the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games.

We at King County also were the athletes, the coaches, the volunteers, and the spectators – and more!

Rama ‘RJT’ Tall is a Parks Specialist with King County.

As part of his responsibilities, he even helps maintain the field and facilities he and his team used to practice for the games.

I’ve been playing soccer since 1987,” RJT told us. “It is important to me to be representing Washington Special Olympics Summer Games. We are trying to bring the trophy home to Washington State!

cropped RJT with Team Washington

Rama ‘RJT’ Tall with Team Washington at the opening ceremonies.

RJT’s team placed third in their division during the games.

Read more about RJT in Parks employee competes in 2018 Special Olympics USA Games.

Jonathan Leckband is a Metro HR employee and also a soccer player.

I’m excited! This will be my first time playing at this level. I’m looking forward to the chance to show how good our team is. This will also be a chance to demonstrate sportsmanship, and maybe make new friends.

cropped Jonathan Leckband KIRO7 Opening Ceremony.png

Jonathan Leckband with Team Washington at the opening ceremonies.

Jonathan’s team brought home gold!

Read more about Jonathan in Metro HR employee athlete competing in 2018 Special Olympics USA Games July 1-6 in Seattle.

Joseph Rivers is one of King County’s 3,000 Metro Transit operators. He is also a former Special Olympics athlete, current volunteer, has coached and refereed for the games, and is the proud father of two of the athletes who competed in the USA Games this month.

A lot of the athletes that come and participate are there to win, but – then again – following the model of ‘let me be brave in the attempt,’ they’re happy to play.


Joseph Rivers talks with KIRO 7 and the Seattle Times prior to the games.

Read more about Joseph in Joseph Rivers: Metro operator and Special Olympics athlete, coach, referee, volunteer and athlete parent.

King County also participated in the first job fair at the Special Olympics with HR and EEO representatives from Human Resources Division, Transit and Parks. Supported Employment Program Manager Christina Davidson was among the group representing King County.

It is truly an honor to showcase King County’s commitment to hiring an inclusive workforce at this historic event.


Christina at USA Games Job Fair.jpg

Supported Employment Program Manager Christina Davidson (center right), Patty Jurgens from Parks HR (far right) and Kellie Parker from Metro EEO (far left) join @2018USAGames Job Fair host David Egan during the games in Seattle.

King County’s commitment to supported employment began in 1990, and is the County’s approach used to match qualified job candidates with developmental disabilities to business needs within King County government.

Learn more about Christina’s Supported Employment Program on

King County joined the State of Washington and the City of Federal Way as a Public Partner of the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games, and King County Metro joined Sound Transit, Alaska Airlines, REI Co-op and others as a Bronze Medal Partner. In a joint effort with Sound Transit, King County Metro was an Official Transportation Sponsor of the 2018 USA Games. Metro General Manager Rob Gannon joined Joseph Rivers and others to announce the partnerships prior to the games.

Seattle is a place truly committed to equity and the idea that everyone – every single one – should have equal access to opportunity.


Metro General Manager Rob Gannon (center right) is joined by – from left to right – Seahawks great Jordan Babineaux, USA Games President and CEO Beth Knox, King County Metro Operator Joseph Rivers, Sound Transit EEO Director Jackie Martinez-Vasquez, and Port of Seattle President Courtney Gregoire.

Read more about Metro’s and King County’s support in King County: #RiseWithUs.

Metro also shared parts of their story on Metro Matters, @kcmetrobus, and more, including:

Metro staff competing, volunteering and cheering on athletes at Special Olympics USA Games 2018

Shuttles to help athletes, families, fans reach July 6 Special Olympics closing ceremonies

cropped Metro volunteers 0718StreetTeamSpecOlympcs004

A volunteer from Metro helps a woman reach her destination during the games.

King County Parts shared parts of their story – the Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center’s role – on @iheartkcparks.

Parks Aquatic Center Special Olympics Capture

We have the opportunity to make that cultural shift that inclusion is the benchmark – that’s where we start. Inclusion for all. If that’s our baseline, then we’re setting an example that the rest of the country – and potentially the world – can follow.

Beth Knox, CEO, 2018 Special Olympics USA Games