Butte gives hometown hero salute to Special Olympics winner - ABC FOX Montana Local News, Weather, Sports KTMF | KWYB

Butte gives hometown hero salute to Special Olympics winner

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BUTTE - Friends and family of Special Olympian Zach Stenson gathered in front of Universal Athletics on Wednesday night to give the three-time medalist a special surprise.

Friends arranged to give Stenson a special victory lap around the Mining City in a Butte-Silver Bow firetruck.

Stenson returned from the Special Olympics last week in Seattle where he won three medals. He took home gold in his favorite event, the 400.

Stenson's mom, Heather, was touched by the community support.

"It's very heartwarming that Butte, America has stepped up and he feels like a celebrity. It's pretty cute."

The victory lap started on Harrison Ave. and continued through Uptown. Cars honked and waved at the firetruck full of kids.

"He's always on the sideline cheering for everybody else and he just feels like everybody is just cheering for him," Zach's mom said.

Stenson said, "I'm glad to make Butte proud and all my friends and family."

The Stensons and other local parents started the Butte Eagles, a Special Olympics team to compete in Montana. 

"When adults graduate from high school, they lose their funding to participate in Special Olympics," Heather Stenson said. The Butte Eagles support the athletes who've graduated from high school, and help athletes like Zach Stenson qualify for the U.S. games.

The Butte Eagles will compete in the state basketball tournament in Helena in November.

The team is funded through donations and fundraisers, which allow athletes like Stenson to achieve theirdreams.

Stenson hopes to compete in basketball at the U.S. Special Olympics next year.

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