RDU plane pull raises more than $100,000 for Special Olympics North Carolina


Usually at RDU all eyes are on the sky, but not this weekend. Instead, all the action was on the ground as people gathered for a plane pull. More than 80, five-person teams competed to see who could pull a 30,000 pound Delta plane the fastest, and all the money benefited Special Olympics North Carolina.

"We are a nonprofit, so we raise all our funds to put on our sports programs for folks with intellectual disabilities so that we don't charge them any fees," said Keith Fishburne, President and CEO of Special Olympics North Carolina.

The event raised more than $100,000 this year. It has been going on since 1999 and has been a success, in part, to the many sponsors who make it possible -- Delta who loaned the plane, Ups who gave up space on their tarmac, and individual companies who sponsored teams of "pullers."

Nichole Hazelzet works for one of those companies, Bandwidth, but she had a personal reason for taking part in the unique event.

"My mom's sister has Down syndrome, so any opportunity I have to come out and support Special Olympics, I do," she said.

Hazelzet was joined by plenty of passionate people who were both supporting Special Olympics and Pulling with Pride.

The team with the fastest time got the biggest trophy and bragging rights, but the real winner was the Special Olympics and the athletes who benefit from this amazing organization.

"We are their place to come to participate in sports, and from sports I think we can all agree you get better self-confidence, better self-esteem, and really you become a part of the community," Fishburne said.

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