Independent Living Services of Conway on Friday recognized its Special Olympics athletes and coaches following their performance at the 2019 Summer Games.

The 2019 Special Olympics of Arkansas Summer Games was held May 24-25 at Harding University in Searcy.

The 36 athletes who competed on behalf of ILS brought home 51 medals. Of those, 11 were gold, 25 were silver and 15 were bronze medals.

ILS Executive Director Elissa Douglas said that on Friday, the center recognized the athletes as well as their coaches for their hard work and handed out certificates of appreciation.

ILS SOAR coaches who traveled to the Summer Games included Alicia Queen, Mark Ealy, Kayla Harrell, Chris Delph, Elgin Thomas, Sherita Marshall and Jim Eaton. The coaches together selected three athletes who were recognized as Athletes of the Year.

The 2019 ILS Athletes of the Year were:

Kace Leavell.
Katie Ness.
Trevion Stephens.

Douglas said SOAR provides a positive environment that promotes growth with the athletes who participate in it each year.

"I have seen our individuals who participate in Special Olympics have the expected health benefits but also boosts [in] their confidence and social skills," she told the Log Cabin Democrat. "I believe it helps our folks become more self assured. It is such a positive environment. I am so proud of our athletes and all of our coaches' hard work!"