SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Win or lose, the challenge of participating is something people of all ages get a sense of accomplishment by “showing up” and doing their best.

In this week’s Eyewitness to History, WBRE/WYOU Eyewitness News photojournalist Joseph Butash, with the help of one-time WDAU-TV reporter Sue Miller has the story of some special Olympians.

A lot of us like to compete, particularly young people. In this week’s Eyewitness to History, we want to take you back nearly 40 years to a “special Olympics” event that was held at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Scranton.

Special Olympians. People who, as the dictionary puts it, are distinguished. Those are the people who come to Memorial Stadium each spring. Those are the faces, and the hands, and the legs, and the hearts and the smiles, that run with all their might, that throw with all their strength, and that jump with all they have in them, whether it is 10 feet or 10 inches.

These are the gold medalists, whose ribbons are treasured. Not for coming in first or second, but for just being there. What’s left at the finish line is a hug. But for the competitors it means the world.

“Oh yes, my day was good so far. Ah, first I ran around the track here, you see? Ran around the track and stuff like that,” Special Olympian Herb Malcolm told Miller in 1982.

“I won two ribbons. Now I’m going to go for my third one. I have my lunch. And I’m going home with mommy,” Special Olympian Christine Cartino told Miller.

A spring-like chill may have breezed across the stadium, but no one seemed to notice. There’s just something about sunshine, and friends, and blue ribbons, that warms the heart, and the rest is forgotten.

The joy of just competing clearly evident. And of course, always doing your best!