Rio Rancho family Pays It 4ward to volunteer Special Olympics coach

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RIO RANCHO, N.M. – This year, a New Mexican took home the bronze in track at Special Olympics USA, but he couldn’t have done it without his volunteer coach.

“My son Alex is 32 and he’s been also involved in Special Olympics Rio Rancho since it started over 20 years ago,” said Laura Correa, Pay It 4ward nominator.

And since then, Alex Correa’s mom Laura noticed a major boost in self-confidence.

“Alex was born premature 10 weeks premature and ever since then they told me there was gonna be something going on with him, so he is intellectually disabled but he’s very self-sufficient when it comes to everything physically,” said Laura. 

She thanks the Special Olympics program for helping her son and his teammates grow as not just people but athletes.

“He just feels good about himself all around,” Laura said. “He loves the outdoors and he loves to run and he loves challenges.”

Which brings us to this year’s challenge: taking on track at Special Olympics USA. 

“He always had issues with feet when he was younger and just the challenge of running. He’s always been a sprinter, so we were a little bit worried about him running the 200,” said Laura. 

Volunteer coach Nutan Patel trained with him every week for months. And Alex took home the bronze.

“She’s a very avid runner too, so it’s wonderful. She’s just an incredible woman,” Laura said. 

So KOB 4 asked, why does Patel deserve this Pay It 4ward?

“Because she’s a wonderful woman, she’s always there when you need her. And out of the goodness of her heart she came and offered to help my son for the USA games and I don’t have a way to thank her so I think this is the best way to thank her,” said Laura. 

It was time to Pay It 4ward with $400. 

Watch the video above to see how this group is bonded by much more than sports.