Griggs volunteers, cheers for son during Special Olympics


Ed Griggs has played a dual role in the Special Olympics 2010 USA National Games.

A volunteer at the games, Griggs has been tasked with overseeing the officials' lounge at the powerlifting venue in Kimball Hall, diligently keeping the space loaded with cold water, energy-filled snacks and percolating coffee.

But, this morning, Griggs switches hats to cheer his son, Daniel, in the USA National Games powerlifting finale.

"It's going to be great seeing Daniel compete at nationals," said Griggs. "But volunteering with the Special Olympics is about more than just seeing my son compete. It's about the excitement of seeing all these athletes come out and give everything they have. It's about meeting great people. And, it's about being a part of something amazing."

Griggs has worked as a custodian at UNL for 25 years. His current beat is in Avery and Manter Halls. Griggs has taken this week off from work, using regular summer vacation time to volunteer and watch.

Griggs' involvement in the Special Olympics grew from Daniel's desire to compete in the games.

"This is my first national games, but I've been with the Special Olympics for 21 years now," said Griggs. "Mainly, I've volunteered with the local organization and helped out with the state games. I've basically done anything they've needed."

His volunteer tasks have included assistant coach, chaperone, timer and fan in the stands.

"Everyone of these athletes is amazing," said Griggs. "I've never seen an athlete act badly toward a parent or fellow competitor at these events. They always take time to speak with you and they are willing to celebrate win or lose.

"They're really enjoyable to be around."

And through the years, the Griggs' involvement in the games has been beneficial to the entire family.

"The Special Olympics really has helped bring our family closer together as we've traveled to events," said Griggs. "We love coming out and cheering for Daniel."

Daniel Griggs competes in the powerlifting event today from 9 a.m. to noon in Kimball Hall. The event is streamed live online at

"Special Olympics events are something that you really need to come out and experience," Griggs said. "I know I'll be out in the audience to watch and holler for Daniel."

Photo information - Ed Griggs (right) discusses the powerlifting schedule with (from left) fellow UNL employees and Special Olympics volunteers Jan Edwards and Becki Barnes. Griggs is a custodian in Avery and Manter Halls. Edwards is a staff secretary with Institutional Research and Planning. Barnes is an administrative support associate in the College of Engineering.

- Troy Fedderson, University Communications