Classic car show benefits Special Olympian

Michael Love behind the wheel of a winning entrant into the car show.

Michael Love smiled broadly as he described his favorite classic car, one made famous on the television show Supernatural.

“The 1967 Chevy Impala,” Love said. “That’s one of my favorite cars to see. My mom says ‘it’s built like a beast and it sounds like a beast’ and I agree.’”

The former Destrehan High swimmer was enjoying a few moments after the conclusion of a car show held Saturday at Cypress Lakes to benefit the River Parishes chapter of Special Olympics Louisiana, and specifically Love’s soon-to-be trek to Berlin, where he is preparing to compete as a swimmer in the Special Olympics World Games next summer.

The car show named 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners among its 30 entrants and prizes were awarded. The unique, classic cars were a sight to see while motorcycles were also featured. Santa Claus was also on hand to take photos with his visitors and there was music, games and food to enjoy at the event, as well as a raffle.

Though the weather wasn’t perfect on Saturday – the show was not rained out, but there were spells of rain on a cool day – but it didn’t derail the show.

“People came out and supported us,” said Michael’s mother Connie. “Some left because of the weather, ultimately, but they showed up and that’s what matters. We had a good time today, a lot of families out here … it was a success.

“It’s Christmas and it’s been rough with all of the storms we’ve had. But it makes you feel good to have people come out, support and show love.”

Love said he was appreciative of the support. The show itself was also very enjoyable for him as he’s got a love for classic and restored cars.

“My mom rebuilt an old Ford Galaxie from scratch,” said Love. “That’s a mean car.”

Connie noted her son is well into preparation for next summer, swimming two to three hours a day on every day of the week. She added he recently got to meet his teammates-to-be.

There is a raffle being held to go toward Love’s trip, with a prize of $750 of butcher cut meat from Cox’s Meat Market in Reserve .  There are also plans to host another car show in the coming months, and a football pool is also to be held for the cause. Connie can be reached at (985) 618-.6246 for those interested in participating or otherwise donating.

Love was diagnosed with autism as a young child. He was non-verbal until he was approximately 5, but has come so far since then – he now does public speaking and advocates for people with intellectual disabilities. He began swimming with the local chapter of the Special Olympics program at the age of 6, and by age 8 he was competing.

Love was a four-year member of the Destrehan High swimming team as well. He is a health messenger for the state of Louisiana, a global health messenger and an athlete leader for the Special Olympics.

The Special Olympics World Games take place every two years and alternate between Summer and Winter Games, a schedule similar to the Olympics and Paralympics. Attracting as many as 350,000 volunteers and coaches, plus several thousands of athletes, these World Games can be the world’s largest sporting event of the year. The World Games feature more than a week of competitions involving thousands of athletes. Through media coverage of the Games, the stories and achievements of children and adults with intellectual disabilities are made known to millions of people worldwide.

The 2023 Games will be held June 17-25.

In Orlando, Love and his seven swim teammates were part of a collection of 58 Louisiana athletes competing in the games from June 6 to 11. 5,500 athletes in all took part in this year’s games, drawing competitors from all 50 states and the Caribbean.

Love took silver in the 4×50 yard free relay and bronze in the 50-yard butterfly. He also took fourth place in the 100-yard freestyle.


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