I have been especially inspired by Hubert’s motto. He asks his colleagues to Dare; Dream; Do. These simple words illustrate better than anything the heart of both our organizations and how clearly our values align. Essilor focuses on doing one thing – improving the sight of people around the world, including people with intellectual disabilities, but in doing so, they actually accomplish much more. Like Special Olympics, the work that Essilor strives at daily is not just about the sight of people with intellectual disabilities but also about the rights of people with intellectual disabilities. The leadership and employees of Essilor know and have shown for 10 years that everyone can make a difference. Everyone can be asked to contribute. Every community can come together. And when that happens, we can take down any barrier on Earth.
I feel very fortunate that Special Olympics has found a partner like Hubert Sagnieres and Essilor International. In them, we have found a partner who believes in our athletes, has brought together a community of health care professionals, and has for 10 years looked at the Special Olympics mission and said, “We’re in.”
So, that is why we gathered last night with dozens of leaders in the health care field like Dr. Paul Berman, the founder of Opening Eyes, policy-makers like Kareem Dale, the Special Assistant to the President for Disability Policy, and Special Olympics athletes like my friends Ricardo Thorton, Ashley Counts and others. We shared dinner, laughs and many stories, but ultimately, the celebration wasn’t about statistics or even the successes to date. It was a celebration of the human spirit.
My friend Special Olympics Athlete David Egan said it best at the dinner. He noted that the Special Olympics-Essilor partnership isn’t just about making Special Olympics athletes see better, it is about making the rest of the world see the athletes better.