Saturday, March 17 , 2018, 9:15 pm | Fair 51º


Sheriff’s Lt. Butch Arnoldi Honored for 30 Years of Championing Special Olympics

Longtime volunteer receives Community Service Award at organization's seventh annual Inspire Greatness Luncheon

From left, Special Olympics Leadership Council member Gary Cunningham; Santa Barbara County sheriff’s Lt. Ugo “Butch” Arnoldi; and speaker Bill Pintard, manager of the Santa Barbara Foresters, at the seventh annual Inspire Greatness Luncheon.
From left, Special Olympics Leadership Council member Gary Cunningham; Santa Barbara County sheriff’s Lt. Ugo “Butch” Arnoldi; and speaker Bill Pintard, manager of the Santa Barbara Foresters, at the seventh annual Inspire Greatness Luncheon. (Rochelle Rose / Noozhawk photo)

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Special Olympics Santa Barbara County Region proudly announced that Santa Barbara County sheriff’s Lt. Ugo “Butch” Arnoldi was the organization’s Community Service Award recipient at a Thursday luncheon at the county Courthouse Sunken Garden.

The sun-drenched venue attracted a loyal crowd of supporters, Leadership Council members, sponsors, and Special Olympics’ athletes and their families.

A family-style lunch of shared platters of smoked baby back ribs, roasted chicken quarters, green salad and cornbread — all prepared by Georgia’s Smokehouse — gave a warm, community vibe to the seventh annual Inspire Greatness Luncheon.

Arnoldi — a Santa Barbara native, 41-year veteran with the Sheriff’s Department and the Goleta police chief — has been a volunteer and champion of Special Olympics for more than 30 years.

He organized Santa Barbara’s Special Olympics Law Enforcement Torch Run in 1982 — and continued the tradition every year since. He is also a long-standing member of the Special Olympics Southern California Law Enforcement Torch Run Council.

“Lt. Butch Arnoldi has been a guiding force for over 30 years in making the Law Enforcement Torch Run fundraising component of Special Olympics Santa Barbara Region very successful,” said Gina Carbajal, regional director.

“Butch continues to provide stellar support in ensuring that law enforcement officers not only provide support in fundraising, but are present at events to cheer on athletes, give high-fives, and honor the athletes with giving out awarded medals.”

Arnoldi graciously accepted the award.

“Special Olympics is an outstanding organization,” he said. “It allows people of all ages with intellectual disabilities the opportunity to compete in various sporting events that truly make a difference in the lives of not only the Special Olympics athletes and their families, but for all of us.”

In addition, Special Olympics honored four other individuals at the Inspire Greatness Luncheon, including Special Olympics Athletes of the Year Lamarcus Briggs and Jerry Raffealli, Outstanding Youth Volunteer Cameron Woods and Outstanding Adult Volunteer Dan Weiner.


Year-round sponsors include Cox, Law Enforcement Torch Run, Union Bank and Deckers Outdoor Corp. Top luncheon sponsors were Andrew Tymkiw, Montecito Bank & Trust, Edison, The Bank of Santa Barbara, Prospect Mortgage, Coca-Cola, Cottage Health System, the Hutton Parker Foundation, Driscoll’s and others.

Following the parade of Special Olympic athletes from the top of the courthouse stairs through the Sunken Garden lawn to the tented stage, Jerry Siegel, co-chairman of the Special Olympics Regional Leadership Council, addressed the crowd.

“Special Olympics is important to these athletes because it provides year-round recreational and social activities,” he said. “Friendships are formed that last for decades between the athletes as well as the athletes and coaches.”

Seigel further explained how important 2015 is locally to the organization. The 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games will be held in Los Angeles from July 25 to Aug. 2 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

LA 2015 marks the second time that the World Games will be hosted in Los Angeles, and it is expected to attract 500,000 athletes, spectators and volunteers. More than 7,000 athletes from 177 countries are scheduled to compete.

The event will be the first Special Olympics World Summer Games held in the United States in 16 years.

Prior to the World Games competition, Special Olympics delegations from around the world will be treated to three days of recreation, entertainment and cultural exchange at their Host Towns, including Goleta, Lompoc, Santa Barbara and Santa Maria, July 21-24.

At their Host Towns, delegations of athletes will be welcomed and celebrated. In Santa Barbara, the athletes will be housed at Westmont College, will visit the Santa Barbara Zoo and the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, and will enjoy a barbecue at Leadbetter Beach, as well as practicing and resting for the games.

Click here for more information about Special Olympics Santa Barbara County Region, or call 805.884.1516. Click here to make an online donation.

Noozhawk contributing writer Rochelle Rose can be reached at [email protected]. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkSociety, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Become a fan of Noozhawk on Facebook.

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