MUSCATINE, Iowa– Special Olympics Iowa honored former Special Olympics of Muscatine Director Ron Miller late in 2022 by inducting him into their hall of fame. His inclusion celebrates his many years of dedication to the program and his commitment to making it one of the strongest in the state.
Miller got his start in Special Olympics right after he graduated from college and took a job with the State of Illinois in the late 1970s. When Miller and his family moved back to Muscatine about 10 years later, it felt natural to him to start working with Special Olympics of Muscatine.
A fairly new program at the time, Miller found that it lacked some of the components the one he worked with in Illinois had. “It was small and needed updated training,” he recalls. During his approximately 20 years with Special Olympics of Muscatine, Miller worked hard to grow it, providing more training opportunities for athletes and adding in winter sports so that athletes could compete in the winter games. He also inspired the younger generation to value Special Olympics, as his son later served as the director of Special Olympics of Muscatine.
Through his many seasons with Special Olympics of Muscatine, Miller loved seeing the athletes he worked with attain victories, whether personal or in large competitions. “I’ve seen a lot of my athletes achieve success,” he said. In particular, Miller cherishes memories of sending athletes to the World Games, including several who went to China, and the many medals Special Olympics Muscatine athletes brough home from state, national, and international competitions.
While Miller has stepped back from Special Olympics and enjoys his retirement, he loves that Muscatine retains the same giving spirit it had while he coached for Special Olympics. “What I’m impressed with, from when I was involved with Special Olympics, was how generous the city is,” he recalled. Throughout his career, Miller never wanted for funding to support the program or volunteers to help make all of the events possible.
Though Miller never expected to get inducted into the Special Olympics Iowa Hall of Fame, he felt touched by his inclusion. “I was quite honored that I was chosen for it,” he reflected.