An accomplished athlete, Sam Finley of Stuart, FL has been involved in Special Olympics for over 26 years, starting when he was just eight years old. He has participated in individual basketball skills, team basketball, swimming, golf, track and field, and softball. Sam tries his best in everything he does: if he is asked to try a new sport, he never says “no,” or “I can’t do it,” he says “I will try!”. A registered volunteer, he has been volunteering for over fourteen years now and has become a certified basketball coach. Sam was selected as Special Olympics Martin County’s very first “Athlete of the Year” in 1989. He is also a Special Olympics Florida Global Messenger (an athlete self-advocacy program of public speaking) and in 2005 he represented the United States at the Special Olympics Global Athlete Congress in Panama. Currently, Sam serves as the athlete representative on the Special Olympics Florida Board of Directors and in 2001, he was inducted into the Special Olympics Florida Hall of Fame. Sam has worked for the Martin County School District for over thirteen years. In 2000, Sam married his wife, Linda, and soon thereafter, learned to drive. Betty Marshall, the County Coordinator for Special Olympics Martin County, and Sam have formed a close bond over the years, in fact, Sam just calls her “mom. As Sam has learned the various sports he has become a better athlete, he has gained confidence and self-esteem.