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Despite the hot weather, nearly 500 local special needs children participated in the annual Newton County Special Olympics this week.

On Tuesday, hundreds of special needs children sat under tents out of the harsh sun eating peanut butter sandwiches during lunch.

While eating, the children looked on as some of their counterparts stood on the awards stand getting metals placed around their necks.

Since 1975, the Newton County Special Olympics has allowed local special needs children to participate and compete in sports like track and field, volleyball and basketball.

The event was a community effort. Organized by the Newton County Special Olympics Management Team, the event had more than 500 volunteers and 21 sponsors.

"I'm very grateful to have the management team and the community," said LaTrelle Cawthon, Special Olympics coordinator and adaptive P.E. teacher for the county.

The Covington Police Department surprised the Special Olympics board this week with a $2,000 check for the organization.

A portion of the money was raised by the annual Fuzz Run, Covington Police Department's benefit marathon.

Many of the more than 500 volunteers were from clubs from local schools. Other volunteers were from Covington Fire Department, Newton County Fire Department, CR Bard, Covington Police Department and the Sheriff's Office.

Sponsors donated money and items like tents to the event.

The Special Olympics is a year-round sports training program for children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Through the program, the participants develop physical fitness, motor skills, self-confidence and a positive self image.

The Newton County Special Olympics were held at Sharp field.