Feel-Good Friday: Pryce Holcombe Is Honored in Florence, AL for His Special Olympics World Games Win

Florence, AL, honors local hero, Olympian Pryce Holcombe. (Credit: WHNT 19 News/YouTube)

One of the benefits of choosing to live around small town environs is the availability of unique and homespun events at your doorstep. Trying to attend even a farmer’s market in California tended to be a major ordeal, and that was just the parking. In the Shoals, we are 15-30 minutes away from most everything we need without fighting crowds or traffic.

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In truth, we kind of don’t know what to do with ourselves, but we’re learning to love it. So, this week’s Feel-Good Friday highlights a local hero who received special honors as part of one of those events.

“Stars and Guitars” is a live music-in-the-park celebration held in the city of Florence, Alabama, featuring local musicians and food trucks. It offers a good time under the stars at Woodrow Wilson Park. The hubby and I attended this past Friday, and got to listen to a band called Dixie Mafia that really represented. It was fun watching people, young and old, two-step and dance to the music, and watching children just have a good time being… children. It’s amazing the difference between urban children and children raised in a much more relaxed environment. The latter are better off.

People, young and old, two-step to the music. (Credit: Jennifer Oliver O’Connell)

 

 

A little girl dances to the music.(Credit: Jennifer Oliver O’Connell)

But embedded in this month’s event was a special ceremony for a special young man named Pryce Holcombe, who represented Florence in the Special Olympics World Games in Berlin, Germany.

From the Special Olympics website:

Pryce Holcombe of Florence, Alabama, has been involved with Special Olympics for 17 years, starting with golf skills in Illinois at the age of 8. In Alabama, Pryce trained and competed in athletics and golf. Pryce will represent Special Olympics USA competing with his father, Les, his Unified partner, in golf. He and his father competed in the 2019 Special Olympics North America Golf Championship in Tennessee and in the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games.

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Now 25-year-old Pryce is a gold medalist, having won in the golf competition with his father Les Holcombe, as the local Times Daily reports.

The City of Florence is holding a ceremony at 8 p.m. at Wilson Park for one of its own, Pryce Holcombe, who won the gold medal in golf earlier this month at the Special Olympics World Games in Berlin, Germany.

Pryce, son of Les and Pam Holcombe, has Down syndrome and has teamed with his father over the years at Special Olympics events. They ultimately made it to the international event and won.

Mike Adams, Community Programs and Events director for Florence Parks and Recreation, said this is an opportunity for the Shoals to come together for Pryce.

“We not only have the opportunity to do something special for Pryce, it’s also going to be special for the community,” Adams said. “It’s a chance for them to be part of something that’s going to be meaningful for him.”

 

And it certainly was.

It was special to watch the outpouring of love and excitement, and it was great fun to see the joy on everyone’s faces as they cheered Holcombe on. The News 19 video shows the beautiful Corvette that transported Holcombe to the park. Everyone formed a cheering line, and my husband captured video of Holcomb’s entrance to “Gonna Fly Now,” the theme from the movie “Rocky.”

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Florence Mayor Andy Betterton presented Holcombe with a proclamation and a key to the city. Holcombe’s father Les also had some words of appreciation and thanks for his wife, his two other sons—who obviously adore their brother—and the community that allowed his son to blossom, grow, and find his wings.

Holcombe is not only a golf champion, but he works at Foodland in Killen, one of the nearby towns. Holcombe’s life, which in another situation would have been terminated because of his Down syndrome, has enriched not only his brothers and his parents, but everyone around him.

As I highlighted in a May “Feel-Good Friday” article about the Down syndrome Barbie, and one “Feel-Good Tuesday” article about a young boy with Down syndrome who got the opportunity to do UPS deliveries, seeing these children and young adults in action is an encouragement of life in every form available, teaches us proper acceptance, and shows what a society can and should be.

The National Down Syndrome Society states that one in every 772 babies in the U.S. is born with Down syndrome. Since 1973, unfettered abortion has contributed to the reduction in the number of these babies, and in some countries, these births have been completely eradicated. Since Roe v. Wade was struck down in 2022, we are seeing more of these babies saved, giving them a chance at a full life.

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Pryce Holcombe and thousands of other children are a reflection of how enriched a life—and the lives of those around them—can become, if only given a chance to be.

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