The McDarby family of Hillsborough County, Florida has made and continues to make a unique and lasting contribution to the lives of individuals with mental retardation through their involvement with Special Olympics. Like many Special Olympic families, Bob and Val McDarby began their involvement with Special Olympics through their son, Chris who is a Special Olympics athlete. Their love of Special Olympics extended to countless other families in Hillsborough County.
In addition to supporting Chris’s athletic accomplishments, the McDarbys support of Special Olympics Hillsborough County covers an array of volunteer roles. Bob and Val serve as chaperones, coaches and head delegates for Hillsborough County to numerous local, area and state level Special Olympics competitions. Bob also competes as a Unified Partner – a program that puts people with and without mental retardation on the same team – with Chris in golf. They are also among the most ardent cheerleaders for Chris and his fellow athletes from Durant High School.
Through outreach to other families, the McDarbys have helped increase family participation in Hillsborough County by 50%. Additionally, the McDarbys assist Hillsborough County Special Olympics and Special Olympics Florida with a variety of fundraising events throughout the year.
The McDarbys go out of their way to help as many athletes as possible by arranging car pools to practice sessions and competitions. From the weighty responsibility of serving as head delegates to the less glamorous job of standing out in the rain to cook hot dogs at a training day to enduring stifling heat of summer games to man the family tent; there is never a request made of them that they turn down. Their dedication is surpassed only by their compassion and selflessness.
As a golfing family, the McDarby family has helped Hillsborough’s golf program grow by encouraging athletes and parents to try Unified golf. Both Bob and Val are certified Special Olympics golf coaches. Last year the family received an invitation to compete in the Special Olympics national golf tournament. Chris and Bob played as Unified Partners and Val served as their caddy and coach.
The Hillsborough County Training Director says the efforts of the McDarbys and their support make it so much easier for things to happen in Hillsborough County.