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Special Olympics: Tri-County Tornadoes of Helena strive for friendship, inclusivity

2023 Tri-County Tornadoes
Posted at 5:39 PM, May 16, 2023

HELENA — Many of the athletes on the Tri-County Tornadoes started their careers as Tri-County Twisters, and now these gold medalists are gearing up for the 2023 Special Olympics Montana State Summer Games in Bozeman as they continue to strive for camaraderie and inclusion.

Special Olympics Montana is a nonprofit managed through different local programs called AMT or Area Management Teams, which Tornadoes second-year coach Tamara Todd is a part of. “We’re just really excited, we want to show ourselves off that we’re out there, we did (recently) win gold in basketball,” Todd said.

Most AMT’s serve numerous counties and geographic areas across the state. The success of these programs require the collaboration of talent and skill from dedicated and enthusiastic volunteers. Todd is responsible for the organization, facilitation and oversignt of SOMT events or programs in Meagher, Broadwater, Lewis & Clark and Jefferson counties.

One of the several high schoolers on the Tornadoes is East Helena junior Taryn Vaughan. “Just having fun with the teammates, I really enjoy it,” she said.

After winning a gold medal for basketball this past fall, Aydan Tomlin had advice for the upcoming state games in Bozeman this week: “(To) Try my hardest and win, and if I don’t, well, I tried,” he said.

The Tornadoes are made up of athletes from each of the area high schools from around the Capital City and new volunteers or members are always welcome. Said Todd, “Its just a really good team, they work well together, they’re always including one another.” The Tornadoes do not have a limit or cap on how many athletes can compete for the team.

You can catch these competitors starting Wednesday at Special Olympics Montana's State Summer Games in Bozeman.