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Thomas Yost, who has been involved with Special Olympics New Mexico since 2007, has been honored as the 2018 Conrad Rehling Award recipient for his continued efforts to grow and support Special Olympics Golf in San Juan County, NM and beyond.

Thomas Yost has served as Executive Director of The First Tee of San Juan County, NM since 2005. With over 30 years of golf experience, Yost has a passion for junior golf and what it teaches and brings to youth in the community. Yost’s involvement withSpecial Olympics New Mexico began in 2007 when he founded the San Juan Special Olympics Summer Program for Level 1 and Level 2 Special Olympics athletes at The First Tee. During the summer program, athletes learn golf fundamentals as well as learn golf rules and etiquette while playing on the course. Through The First Tee program, the athletes learn life skills and core values including respect, responsibility, honesty and perseverance.

“Tom helps us make wise decisions when we play golf and encourages us to not get mad when we miss our shot. He also coaches us to be able to make it closer next time,” Ashli Thompson, Special Olympics New Mexico athlete said. “He helps us get stronger with our golfing skills. He teaches us everyday life skills through the game of golf.”

A longtime supporter of Special Olympics, Yost was instrumental in bringing the Special Olympics New Mexico Area Competition and statewide Four Corners Invitational Competition to Riverside Golf Course, the home course of The First Tee of San Juan County.Thanks to Yost’s efforts, Special Olympics New Mexico’s athlete participation level and access to golf courses has grown.

“I can’t think of a more worthy person for this award than Tom,” said Dana Lehner, Executive Director of the Sun Country PGA. “As the Director of a membership association, I know I’m not supposed to have favorites. But, Tom is just that. He’s the epitome of what a PGA Professional should be. It’s not a surprise to me that the Special Olympics New Mexico would select him for this and it’s been an honor to watch him constantly give back to the sport and people we all love.”

Yost’s advocacy and respect for Special Olympics athletes creates a ripple effect in the community promoting inclusion and breaking down barriers. Thomas Yost is a champion for all youth and for Special Olympics athletes in San Juan County and statewide.

*Release courtesy Special Olympics

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