This is the third installment of the spotlight on the 2019 “With Heart In Hand” volunteer award recipients.

The Bair Family, nominated by Terry Sickles, Adams County Special Olympics received the Family Award. The Bair brothers, Evan and Adam, are synonymous with the Special Olympics Adams County Basketball Program. Evan is in his 10th season dedicating his Saturday mornings, January through June, to coach an average of 30 athletes. Adam is in his fifth season. Last year, Adam’s wife Michelle, and Evan’s girlfriend, Brittney Smith, signed on as volunteers. While still too young to officially volunteer, Adam and Michelle’s children, Jackson and Kyla, attend many practices, participating in warm up exercises and helping to gather the balls. Grandma, Diana Bair, also helps with the children and watches them while their parents travel on overnight events. Evan was in college when he was recruited by a former Special Olympics coach and neighbor who convinced him to get out of bed early every Saturday during Christmas break. In 2015, Adam joined him on the courts. Not content to just coach from the sidelines, they lace up their sneakers and play with the athletes. Michelle and Brittney are both flexible and work wherever they are most needed. Whether they’re leading drills or playing in a scrimmage, they’re good at encouraging and challenging the athletes. Weekly practices average about 50 hours each season. Each year they’re coaching at the all-day basketball tournament held in March. In April and May, they escort athletes on an overnight sectional competition and regional invitation tournament. For the past four years, and hopefully this year, they will compete at the three-day State Summer Games. They put in time outside the game, pumping up balls, storing and transporting equipment and giving athletes rides. The family’s combined volunteer hours exceed 400 hours annually. The Bairs are dedicated coaches and mentors to the athletes teaching them skills that transfer to their daily lives providing opportunities for social interaction and demonstration of competence to themselves and the community to live independent and rewarding lives.

Phi Delta Theta Young Adult Group, nominated by Tara Marquis, Adams County Children & Youth Services, received the Young Adult Group Award. For the past 15 years as part of their philanthropy work, the Phi Delta Theta fraternity at Gettysburg College has hosted The Haunted Mansion to raise funds for Adams County Children & Youth Services’ Independent Living Program. Countless hours are spent planning the various themed rooms to turn the fraternity house into a “house of horrors”...the good kind. They raised $2,174.70 in 2018. The Haunted Mansion is typically open for three nights in October for the community to attend. Youth participating in the Independent Living Program are able to experience the Haunted Mansion first-hand with a private tour. This event is consistently a favorite of the youth. This unique and fun community service event has raised thousands of dollars in support of foster youth as they transition to adulthood to become successful, contributing members of the community.

Stay tuned for next installment of the 2019 With Heart In Hand Spotlight. Great things happen when we Live United.

Vickie Corbett is the executive director of United Way of Adam County.

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