Family donates to Special Olympics



The Westerhouse family shows the check for $5,200 that they gave to Special Olympics.The family includes (from left) Paula Westerhouse, Cameron Owens, Logan Westerhouse, Brittany Owens, Sean Owens, Jaylen Morgan, Jennifer Owens, Roger Westerhouse, and Stacie Morgan. W.C. Madden/News & Review

The Westerhouse family shows the check for $5,200 that they gave to Special Olympics.The family includes (from left) Paula Westerhouse, Cameron Owens, Logan Westerhouse, Brittany Owens, Sean Owens, Jaylen Morgan, Jennifer Owens, Roger Westerhouse, and Stacie Morgan. W.C. Madden/News & Review

The Westerhouse family presented the White County Special Olympics with a check for $5,200 recently and celebrated the donation with a picnic at the Monticello City Park on Sunday.

The donation was the result of a memorial to Mary Ellen Westerhouse, who was killed in a traffic accident on Aug. 1.

The memorial was given to the Special Olympics, because Westerhouse’s grandson, Logan Westerhouse, is part of it. “They want to be like every other kid,” said her husband, Roger.

Mary Ellen had been a bus driver for North White School Corporation for 30 years and retired in 2018. She graduated from North White High School in 1971.

“She was a firm believer of Special Olympics,” Roger said. “She didn’t miss anything the kids did. She sat in the bleachers to support them.”

About 50 people from the local White County Special Olympics gathered for the picnic at the park, the first gathering since the pandemic. It was organized by Wes Hartwell, who took a class in event planning.

“Our hope is that in spite of this tragedy, Special Olympics can thrive and benefit for many years to come in mom’s memory,” the family wrote in a statement.

The couple had been married for 51 years and had three children: Jennifer Owens, Greg Westerhouse, and Stacie Westerhouse-Morgan. “Mom was our cheerleader,” Stacie said.

“It was a terrible accident,” explained Roger. “It was just one of those things.”

He was also injured in the accident and suffered seven broken bones among other injuries. He also suffered a concussion and didn’t realize his wife had died in the accident until two days later in the hospital.

Roger, who served in the U.S. Army for three years during the Vietnam War, is a farmer in Buffalo, the place he has lived all of his life.

The family recently found out that another $450 has come in for the memorial since the check was given, making the total now $5,650.

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