Special Olympics New York Coach Martha Pachuta is First-Ever Recipient of National Lifetime Achievement Award
Special Olympics North America Selects Pachuta Out of More Than 135,000 Coaches
Perry, NY – Special Olympics New York is proud to announce that Martha Pachuta, 62, of Perry, NY, has been named the inaugural recipient of the Annette Lynch Lifetime Achievement Award for Coaching by Special Olympics North America. Pachuta was selected out of more than 135,000 Special Olympics coaches in the country.
Pachuta has been coaching Special Olympics athletes in New York for more than 35 years. She currently coaches Alpine Skiing, Floor Hockey, Volleyball, Swimming, and Golf, serves as a sport director and clinician locally as well as statewide, and regularly mentors coaches at all levels of the program, including those in other states.
“This award confirms something we have suspected for decades: that Martha Pachuta is one of the most knowledgeable and impactful coaches in the country,” said Special Olympics New York President & CEO Stacey Hengsterman. “Martha stands out as a leader on and off the fields of play. She is a respected role model for her fellow coaches and our staff; she never misses an opportunity to learn more or do more in support of the Special Olympics movement; and most of all, she always puts her athletes first. We could not be more proud of Martha for this incredible achievement, and she could not be more deserving.”
Jacob Babcock, 26, of Brockport, NY is one of the many Special Olympics athletes Martha has worked with over the years. “She is a very nice coach, and she treats me very well,” he said. “[As a coach], she tells me what to do and what not to do, and she calms me down when I get frustrated.”
Pachuta was surprised with the news that she received the Lifetime Achievement Award at State Winter Games. “This is all for you guys. You’re the reason I do this,” she said to the athletes present. “I hope Special Olympics can continue to provide opportunities that highlight success and achievement and give athletes with intellectual disabilities the skills that empower them to reach whatever goals that they want.”
The Lifetime Achievement Award for Coaching is named after Annette Lynch, a pioneer in elevating quality coaching in Special Olympics who continues to be a passionate advocate for ensuring athletes receive the best possible training. This year marks the first year the award has been presented to a Special Olympics coach who has met several criteria over the course of at least 20 years, particularly having made a significant and demonstrable impact on the local Special Olympics Program, the community and most importantly, the athletes.
Special Olympics New York will receive a $1,500 sponsorship award from Gallagher in Pachuta’s honor to be used for professional development of coaches.
“We are proud to be the official sponsor of Special Olympics Sport and Coach programming and to celebrate coaches like Martha Pachuta who have lifted up athletes for more than three decades,” said Patrick Kennedy, President, Northeast Region, Gallagher. “Martha exemplifies the spirit of this award by coaching athletes on essential skills – like leadership, teamwork, and perseverance – that transcend sport and empower them to thrive on and off the field of play.”
About Special Olympics New York
Special Olympics New York is the largest state chapter in the country, serving more than 31,000 athletes across New York with year-round sports training, athletic competition, and health screenings. The organization also partners with about 250 schools statewide to offer Unified Sports, where students with and without disabilities compete as teammates. All Special Olympics New York programs are offered at no cost to athletes, their families or caregivers. The organization has earned the Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar.com, making it one of the most trusted charities in the business nationally. For additional information about Special Olympics New York, to learn more about getting involved, or to make a donation, visit www.specialolympicsNY.org.
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