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People Taking Action: Man helps to train athletes for Special Olympics

Posted at 7:02 PM, Feb 03, 2015

Virginia Beach, Va. - This Saturday it's the Polar Plunge at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront. It will benefit the Special Olympics.

Today we're shining our People Taking Action spotlight on Wade Crawford, a volunteer who will be plunging for the first time this Saturday. But on a regular basis, Crawford is helping to train athletes for various Special Olympics competitions.

In order to surprise him, we went into his Virginia Beach work offices off Lynnhaven Parkway. With the help of his wife Diane and co-workers, we were able to lure him into a conference room where we surprised him with a People Taking Action award and presented a $300 Visa gift card from our community partner Southern Bank.

Wade and his family spend about 30 hours a week training special Olympians year round. It includes a special program that Crawford developed focusing on fitness and nutrition for athletes like Danny King.

"He's helped me get out of my weak zone," says Danny.

His mom Darlene has noticed a big difference.

"He's more outgoing. He's not as shy. He doesn't let any of his disabilities get to him; he shows just because you're disabled doesn't mean your're unable," says Darlene.

Meanwhile, Crawford already has a plan for his new $300 Visa gift card. Of course, he's going to use it to help train his athletes.

"Oh yeah, we need mats, we need weights; right now we're using bottles with sand as weights. We're using painting tarps as workout mats," says Crawford.

We asked Crawford why he and his family are such a passionate supporters of the Special Olympics.

"Truthfully, we just see so much need but also it's just so much fun. We started it because we wanted to help, but we stay in it because we love it," says Crawford.

NewsChannel 3 employees and bankers from our community partner Southern Bank will also be plunging along with Crawford this Saturday. If you would like to take action and donate to the Special Olympics, click here.