Folks putt for special Olympian headed to USA competition

32-year-old Josh Gilbert is a big sports fanatic but also a dedicated Special Olympics athlete himself.

Josh Gilbert, a special Olympic athlete says, ''you know when I step up to the plate, when the ball comes right down the middle, that makes it a homerun pitch, I just wait for it to get closer and when it's close enough crack, the ball goes a long way out."

With a passion for baseball growing inside him for 20 years, Josh batted 1,000 hits at the state special Olympics tournament last fall and is getting ready to bring that same drive to the Special Olympics USA in Seattle this upcoming July.

Gilbert says, "This means a lot to me like I'm ready to go onto a major league baseball field in front a big packed crowd playing baseball in front of 50,000 fans."

As people made their way through downtown for the Black Hills Works Putt-n-Pub. Josh was able to raise money for his trip, sign autographs, and witness love from his family and the community at the same time.

Tom Berger, a friend of Josh Gilbert and a former little league director, says "Josh just has a passion for that game. He's just a unique individual and I'm so happy for him."

Josh's father says his athleticism is not the only thing that sets him a part.

Wayne Gilbert, Josh's father, says "He's pretty good, pretty coordinated and strong. He is also I think kind of taking a mentorship role with some of the other people who are involved in special Olympics.

For people who might have a disability like Josh, and have as much passion for the game as he does, he says you can too be successful just by trying.

Josh says, "Let me win but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt."

Josh is in need of $1200 to make his way to Seattle for the national Special Olympics softball tournament. If you would like to help Josh, you can donate through South Dakota Special Olympics.