The heart of a champion is not measured by how many titles they’ve won or by the number of trophies on the wall. The heart of a champion is much deeper than that.
It’s the ability to rally a team together for a common goal. It’s the ability to clearly define a goal and then achieve it. It’s the ability to achieve the level of greatness that only happens when a team of people are working together for a common cause.
Eric Retelle is the definition of a champion for Special Olympics. Retelle knows how to bring a group of people together for a common goal – and you don’t have to look any further than my Manchester, New Hampshire store for proof!
Two years ago, Retelle visited my Manchester, NH location and gave his presentation about Special Olympics and the Penguin Plunge. In the audience was Melissa Ortins, one of the store managers at my Manchester, NH location.
And before we get any further, if you got a chilly feeling when you read the words “Penguin Plunge” then you read them correctly. Retelle and his team, The Mighty Tigers, participate in the yearly Penguin Plunge. In the non-COVID years, this event is held at Hampton Beach in New Hampshire and participants get to jump into the chilly waters of the Atlantic Ocean. Over the past two years, this event has gone virtual. Special Olympics has provided “plunge pails” the last two years for people to use on their own.
Ortins admits that running into cold water in the middle of winter was not on her bucket list prior to Retelle’s visit back in 2020, but after hearing his story, she knew she wanted to jump right in.
“I told Eric we were going to do it,” said Ortins.
And they did.A group of Bob’s employees from the Manchester, NH store and surrounding store formed a team, creatively named “The Little Bobsters” and took the plunge. Over three years, the team has raised roughly $16,000 for Special Olympics!
Retelle Returns to the Manchester, NH Store
On Sunday, April 10, Retelle returned to my Manchester, NH store to talk about the impact Special Olympics has had on his life.
“Special Olympics touches so many lives of people who have disabilities. Some people have a hard time getting through life in general and getting through life through the power of sport,” Retelle said.
Retelle has competed in Special Olympics programming since 1998. He enjoys basketball, golf and bowling.
In addition to being an athlete, Retelle is currently the secretary on the Special Olympics New Hampshire board of Directors. Retelle also coordinates The Mighty Tigers Plunge Flock. Over the past seven years, his flock has raised nearly $150,000. Way to go, Eric!