WCSHOF to honor two area organizations

The Warren County Sports Hall of Fame is looking to hold its biannual voting membership drive for the upcoming induction ceremony in August.

Anybody can join. Whether you love sports, are trying to help one of the nominees get into the Hall, or just want to support a local nonprofit organization, all it takes is a $10 membership fee and you will be able to vote on the upcoming Warren County Sports Hall of Fame induction class. The small fee helps fund the ceremony, the awards, as well as any other expenses such as newspaper ads or other ways of advertisement.

The membership drive started last week and will go on until Friday, May 31. This ballot has a variety of athletes and coaches. Similar to last time, we will be inducting eight living nominees and two deceased nominees. Two organizations will be inducted — the Warren County Special Olympics and the American Legion Post 135. To even be considered for the WCSHOF is an accomplishment. It shows that other people have noticed an individual’s successes and want them to be recognized.

A voting membership into the 2024 Hall of Fame organization costs $10 (an amount that has not changed since 1993), is good for one year, and includes full voting rights.

For anyone interested in becoming a voting member of the WCSHOF, either fill out the form provided, visit the “Warren County Sports Hall of Fame” Facebook page, or contact Nate Sandberg at: natesandy31@gmail.com. The Warren County Sports Hall of Fame does not select who is inducted into the hall; it is determined solely upon the number of votes received by the voting members.

For questions, either email WCSHOF President Nate Sandberg at natesandy31@gmail.com, or contact the Facebook page. Mail all membership forms, completed ballot, and $10 to WCSHOF, P.O. Box 61, Warren, Pennsylvania. Make any checks payable to WCSHOF. Once again congratulations to every person nominated for the 2024 WCSHOF class. We would like to thank the Warren Times Observer, The Post-Journal, the Warren Public Library, the Cornerstone Lounge, and all of the board members and people who have made nominations to make this possible.


The American Legion Chief Cornplanter Post 135 has been contributing to Warren County sports organizations for many years.

The Legion doesn’t just throw in a couple bucks here and there, however. The American Legion’s faithful members have donated more than $300,000 to local sports organizations in just the last 10 years. These organizations include Lady Dragon basketball, Warren swim team, AAU basketball, WAHS track, Warren trap team, YMCA Powerhouse Gymnastics, Youngsville track, American Legion baseball, Warren County Youth Football League, WAHS soccer, WAHS volleyball, Warren County Youth Baseball League, Sheffield basketball, Youngsville basketball, Sheffield Sports Boosters, and the Clarion University men’s golf team. They have also assisted underprivileged student athletes obtain requisite equipment through anonymous donations.

Additionally, the Legion donates $8,000 per year in high school scholarships and makes a yearly donation of $5,000 to the Warren County Fourth of July parade. Its consistent loyalty to the development of youth sports in the county makes it more than deserving of induction into the Warren County Sports Hall of Fame.


Warren County Special Olympics (WCSO), a part of Pennsylvania Special Olympics, has been sponsoring sports programs in Warren County for more than 40 years.

“Our mission statement is to provide year-round sports training and competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, cognitive delay or a developmental disability, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in the sharing skills and friendship with their families and other Special Olympic athletes and the community,” said Gregg Heinold, Warren County Special Olympics team leader. “That being said, WCSO gives our athletes the opportunity to experience the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat. We currently have 80 athletes on our rosters, most of which were never given the opportunity to participate in the varsity or junior varsity teams in school. But that does not mean that they are not competitive.”

To participate in WCSO, you must be a minimum of 8 years old with no maximum age limit. Athletes and families pay no money for any services that WCSO provides.

“We receive no government funding and rely solely on the generosity of individuals, corporations, foundations and special events,” said Heinold. “This year, we will be celebrating our 30th annual golf tournament at CVCC, which is a major fundraiser for WCSO.”

There are more than 20 sports sanctioned by the primarily parent-run organization, Special Olympics of PA (SOPA). “We have participated in about 14 of them over the years,” said Heinold. “Currently, we offer nine sports. Each sport involves a minimum of eight weeks of practices and training. After the training sessions, we have a local competition. We divide our athletes by gender, age and ability, so as to make it competitive for all. If you have never witnessed one of our competitions, it is competition at its best… No million dollar contracts, no college scholarships, just a determination to win. After the local competition, there are sectional and state competitions, which take local athletes to Erie, Penn State, Villanova, Slippery Rock and Carnegie Mellon University for competitions with the top athletes from counties across the state. This year, we (finished) up basketball season with competition on March 9 at Holy Redeemer. Walt Miller has been our head coach of basketball for the last 38 years. He has promised to stay on to get his 40-year pin. Walt could be another WCSHOF inductee.

“We started swim season at the ‘Y’ two weeks ago. We will follow that up with track and field at War Memorial (Field) in March and April, and golf in the spring at CVCC. In the summer, we are doing tennis at Betts Park and softball at Brown Field. In the fall, we are doing long-distance running and walking and bocce ball. In the winter, we bowl at Jamestown Bowling Company. Somehow, we fit in some floor hockey, too. In December, WCSO has a Christmas party.”

In December, WCSO had 20 athletes compete in bowling with athletes from other parts of Northwest Pennsylvania, and had eight first-place finishes. Four of those eight will compete for two days in York against bowlers from all over the state.

“We competed with McKean, Elk and Forest counties at a swim meet in early March at the University of Pitt-Bradford just for fun,” said Heinold. “In the past, we have had an athlete compete in bowling at the World Special Olympics in Dublin, Ireland. Three years ago, one of our athletes competed at the U.S. games in California for… distance running. One of WCSO athletes (was) inducted to the Special Olympics of PA Hall of Fame about six years ago. He has been with the program for over 35 years.

“Yes, WCSO is all about sports and the lessons it teaches us,” added Heinold. “The athletes learn teamwork and good sportsmanship and develop a camaraderie that is unsurpassed. WCSO’s only limitation is volunteers to run the program. Anyone interested in volunteering in a rewarding program, feel free to contact me.”

Special Olympics mission envisions a world where people with intellectual disabilities lead healthy, vibrant lives grounded in ongoing sports and physical activities, sound nutrition, and a deeply held commitment to improve, compete, achieve, and demonstrate their personal bests to themselves and their communities.

“Our organization is always seeking out active volunteers/athletes,” according to Warren Gives — A Warren County Day of Giving on Wednesday, May 15th. “If interested, we would like to thank the community for its continued support during these tough times. Remember, there is never a fee for any athlete participating or interested in participating, (and) all donations stay in Warren County.”


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