It has been an incredible week at the Special Olympics USA Games as thousands of people from all over the country traveled to Washington to compete.

It’s taken hundreds of people to pull off this significant effort, including many right here in Seattle. One of those people is Pacific Science Center CEO Will Daugherty.

“It’s a great example that the city is setting for the rest of the country and the rest of the world about welcoming people of all abilities and creating an inclusive community,” Daugherty said. “As a member of the Seattle community, I’m excited and super proud that the region is hosting these USA games and having Special Olympic athletes here from all the country for a week of competition, a week of celebration, a week of inclusiveness.”

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Daugherty’s been serving on the board tasked with planning the games, but he’s been connected to the disabled community for a lifetime.

“My father had intellectual disabilities, and he struggled throughout his life with the ostracism that got involved, and it involves,” Daugherty said. “It was discouraging for him to struggle with cognitive limitations and not get the same job that his cohorts were getting.”

His dad landed a dream job of serving as a breakfast host at a hotel in Georgia at 59 years old. Will’s father passed away a few years ago, but he looks back on his dad’s life with great pride.

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“I learned over time that he had incredible gifts. He was a very, very curious person. And he was a fiercely determined person, fiercely determined to be useful, fiercely determined to find a role that was perfect for him,” Daugherty said. “Mostly what he has left me with and is still with me is the commitment to serve others, and he did that with tremendous talent.”

So as the games go on in Seattle, he sees in these athletes the same things he saw in his father. Determination, courage, grit; attributes we all can appreciate.

“There is such talent in people of all abilities, and it’s not only kind of us to welcome them, but it’s smart to help everyone realize their full potential because that makes our community better,” Daugherty said.

The Pacific Science Center hosts multiple events specifically focused on welcoming people of all abilities. Click here if you are interested in learning more information.

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