Tyler George was competing in a snowshoeing event last winter when he separated himself from the rest of the competition. As friends, family and spectators cheered him on, he stopped during the middle of the race, turned to the crowd and waved with a big smile on his face.
The 25-year-old Special Olympics athlete is best exemplified by those types of moments. He cherishes the opportunities to compete against others and in doing so, he reminds others to appreciate the simple pleasures of life.
“You can learn so much about life, gratitude and accomplishment through Tyler,” his respite care provider Ashlee said. “You see it in the passion and the love that he has for life. It’s a really good grounding reminder every day to just love life and be grateful.”
His family, coaches and members of the Douglas Police Department shared in his joy June 30 as they provided him a proper send off to the Special Olympics USA Games in Seattle, Washington, July 1-6.
Tyler will compete in the 100-meter and 200-meter runs and the standing long jump. He will compete with more than 4,000 athletes representing 50 state programs and the District of Columbia. He is one of 20 athletes who will represent Wyoming on the greatest Special Olympics stage.
Since 2005, Tyler has participated in a growing list of sports, including powerlifting, snowshoeing, bowling, basketball and athletics. His stockpile of medals won during competition continues to grow and is a glowing example of his life’s perseverance.
“He works really hard,” Ashlee said. “It’s where Tyler gets to be Tyler and live out his passions and dreams. It’s where he’s able to be in his element and shine.”
When he’s not competing, Tyler is a true connoisseur of life. He enjoys rodeo, the cowboy life, spending time in the shop with his brother and especially his loving pit bull, Diesel. He also enjoys fishing, the Denver Broncos and putting in the work to grow Wyoming’s longest beard.
“It doesn’t matter what you’re doing, Tyler is going to make it fun,” Ashlee said with a smile. “He’s just going to laugh and give you a hug. He just wants to love people and work hard. He wants to be with the people he loves and make them proud.”
When out in public, there’s no hiding from Tyler’s loving personality.
His father Chance can’t help but admire his son’s ability to connect with others and share in their life’s enjoyment. To a fault, it could set up Tyler for a future run for office.
“Tyler should be the mayor,” Chance jokingly said. “You can’t take him to the grocery store if you’re in a hurry because you’re going to be there for a while.”
As the police escort led Tyler and the other Wyoming athletes out of Douglas, it became clear of the impact that he’s had on others.
His family and coaches hugged him goodbye and wished him luck in Seattle. Sheriff Clint Becker gifted Tyler with a Converse County Police Department patch, a small token of appreciation that is felt through Tyler’s joy for life.
“Tyler is the one giving us the gift,” Ashlee said. “He has an impact on all of us and makes us all better. Every step of the way, Tyler is teaching us something.”