Today we had an unexpected visit from a young man with a glowing smile here in Mandan

A dreary Tuesday morning turned out to be quite a bright day, what started out as the normal "a billion things to do" slowed down drastically when 29-year-old Benjamin Antonsen walked through our doors here at 4303 Memorial Highway, on the strip in Mandan. He politely rang the cowbell ( our very own high-tech system of letting us know someone needed assistance )  - I was the lucky one to greet him first. I immediately dropped everything I was doing at the moment.

Mandan is having a fundraiser this Sunday!

Benjamin puffed out his chest with pride and handed out a flyer - and began telling me all about an event this Sunday here in Mandan.

WHEN: Sunday - 8:30 am - 11:30 am

WHERE: Christ The King Parish Life Center

COST: $8.00 for adults - $5.00 per child ( ages 6-12 ) and kids under 5 are FREE

Pancakes, sausage, eggs, cheesy hash browns, fruit, milk, juice, and coffee will be served.

How you can help

Benjamin's mom Leslie is looking for donations and silent auction items. You can get ahold of her at 1-605-209-0515.   You can also reach Tonya Jans at 1-701-471-1247

This is the first year they are doing this in Mandan. Benjamin has been involved with Special Olympics for 22 years, his skills range from bowling to volleyball, AND he's good at basketball ( when he feels like it ). I asked him why he has been a part of this for so long "I want other disability kids who have been treated badly to know they make a difference"

Here are my thoughts about this amazing young man

Sometimes when others meet someone labeled as "Special", they tend to act extra apprehensive, a quick judgment of a person they feel that probably can't relate to real feelings or life's ups and downs. It's a shame when someone is downplayed right off the bat, sadly it's almost expected. I found Benjamin to be "razor-sharp", he remembered seeing me at the fourth of July parade last year in Mandan, he is crystal clear of the message he is bringing across for the Special Olympics. "It's important to be accepted in life" he relayed. Although he has a learning disability, in the 20 minutes I was around him I received respect, manners, a sense of humor, and a spirit that mirrors Special Olympics to perfection. His mother sat proudly in her chair during our interview, she nodded along with her adopted son, and when I asked what she loves so much about him, a simple two-word answer said it all "His Heart"



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