Dear Mrs. Shriver,
In 1968 when our son, Marty, was selected to attend the first Special Olympics games, his life was changed forever. Your vision and determination have truly brightened his world immeasurably.
Most parents with children who participate in sports, might get to enjoy watching them for 6 to 10 years. For us, we have enjoyed watching Marty for 40 years!! And we are still counting. The many wonderful experiences and opportunities that have come his way because of Special Olympics are countless.
One of the highlights of his life occurred recently, when he was chosen to be included in the portrait honoring you. That is very special to him and to his entire family.
Mrs. Shriver, we will always be grateful to you for the joy and happiness you have brought into Marty's life. Thank you.
Dave, Iris and Marty Sheets
The Sheets Family has been actively involved with Special Olympics North Carolina. Marty Sheets of Greensborough, N.C., is a 56-year-old Special Olympics athlete who has Down syndrome. In 1968 he attended the first Special Olympics competition where he met Eunice Kennedy Shriver.
Since then he has remained active in Special Olympics for 40 years and has won more than 200 medals in local, state, national and world Special Olympics competitions. Sheets has been a global messenger for Special Olympics while continuing to compete in the games. While his favorite sport is golf, he has competed in world games five times in swimming, skiing, tennis skills and power lifting competitions.
In addition to his athletic successes Sheets has received numerous civic awards in recognition of his achievements in the community and by Macy's his employer for 36 years. In 2000 Governor Hunt presented Marty the Order of the Long Leaf Pine award for being a good ambassador for the state of North Carolina. It is the highest civilian award given in the state. In 2006 the PGA Tour chose Marty as the national Volunteer of the Year for his volunteerism during the tournament held in Greensboro.