Ed Arnold has seen the Special Olympics since it began 47 years ago. He's been chairman on several boards for the Special Olympics. Nowadays, he's an ambassador of the special Games.
Arnold, known for his work as a local TV news reporter, lives in Fountain Valley, but on Sunday he wanted to help the Newport Beach Host Town committee with its fundraiser at The Bungalow. He was an example of the teamwork that was present at the restaurant in Corona del Mar, where there was mingling and a bit of dancing all in the name of raising money for the upcoming Special Olympics.
"The Special Olympics has given those who were shunned for so long and overlooked an opportunity," Arnold said. "The athletes have been just wonderful. It's been great to see the changes in them today."
Arnold was the emcee of Sunday's event: Beach Blanket Bungalow. Community leaders participated in a bartending battle to raise money for Newport Beach Host Town, a group that will have activities lined up for the Special Olympics athletes this summer.
Newport Beach will host athletes from Mexico and Fiji July 21-24.
Arnold is honorary chair of the host towns of Huntington Beach and Fountain Valley. But he said it was a treat for him to see so many people working together for the World Games that will take place in Los Angeles July 25 through Aug. 2.
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Costa Mesa), who was part of the Team Inspire bartenders/fundraisers, said he has been in meetings for the Special Olympics in Washington D.C. so he was happy to be on the team.
"Special Olympics verifies all the goodness of America," Rohrabacher told those in attendance. "This is going to be a world class event and all of you are making it that way."
Team Inspire, which raised $4,189 in sponsorships, raffle and event tickets and tips, also included Orange County Supervisor Michelle Steel; Newport Beach Mayor Pro Tem Diane Dixon; Special Olympics World Games volunteer Melissa Snow; and Newport Beach Host Town Committee member and Team Inspire leader Sarah Jean-Soss Lowrey.
The other team was nicknamed Dream Team Newport, and its members raised $409 in tips to help the overall money raised reach a total of $6,698, as they also raised $1,725 in tickets and $375 in sponsorships.
Team Inspire won the battle known as the Big Kahuna Challenge but everyone was a winner. Organizers said the event raised more than $10,000.
The Dream Team included: Newport Beach Host Town Committee member and Newport Beach Councilman Kevin Muldoon; Newport Beach Mayor Ed Selich; Newport Beach Councilman Marshall Duffield; and Newport Beach Chamber President Steve Rosansky.
"When Newport Beach City Council member Kevin Muldoon approached me to participate in the Big Kahuna Charity Challenge, I knew we were in for a win-win situation," Steel said.
And, that it was.