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April 14, 2009

Duncan man headed to Special Olympics

DUNCAN — Ever since 53-year-old Paul Lawson was a child, he has competed in the Special Olympics in Oklahoma.

Lawson is originally from Rush Springs, but has called Duncan home now for well over a year. He has won multiple awards with the Special Olympics and loves every sport.

Some of his favorite events are the 50-yard dash and walking, but he doesn’t compete in those anymore.

Four of his recent awards are in the shot put and softball competitions, for which he proudly shows off his ribbons to any who will listen.

Lawson is planning to attend the 2009 Oklahoma Special Olympics games in Stillwater May 13-15 and hopes to win every event he enters.

When Lawson isn’t competing in the Special Olympics, he happily works in the Chisholm Mall as both a janitor and a store receptionist.

Those who walk along the perimeter of the mall know him well, as they see Lawson constantly taking his job seriously to make sure the mall looks clean.

“He’s my buddy,” said Gina Baker, who is the general manager of the mall. “He greets me every morning with a ‘good morning Miss Gina.’ If there’s any dirt on the floor, he gets a broom out to clean it. He’s cool.”

Lawson started working in the mall over a year ago at the Re-run Junction Community Thrift Store, which is operated by Big Five Community Services.

The thrift store employs people with developmental disabilities and provides them with opportunities to learn to attain full-time employment and be independent.

“That’s our ultimate goal for Paul,” said Janna Reyna, vocational program coordinator for Big Five Community Services. “Paul is such a good guy.”

Those employed by the thrift shop will sort clothes, help customers find what they need and even run the cash register.

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