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Of 30k Volunteers, Naples Woman Recognized With Award

She had never heard of the Bill Crutchfield Award, and Stephanie Dangler was certainly shocked to win it.

There are more than 30,000 Special Olympics volunteers throughout Florida. One from Collier County stood out among the rest and won an award she’s never even heard of.

“The Bill Crutchfield award?” Said a confused Stephanie Dangler, an assistant coach at Special Olympics Florida – Collier County.

She was standing in the crowd when the county director announced the winner by complete surprise.

“I was crying, the athletes were hugging me, and then I said: what’d I just win?”

The Bill Crutchfield Award is presented to the volunteer who has demonstrated outstanding and distinguished service at the County or Area level.

Dangler has devoted her entire life to her son — who was diagnosed with several autistic traits. Long ago, she even changed her career — working a pest control business from home — just to give more time to volunteer.

“I don’t know exactly what I did. It’s just what I do every day,” she said.

What she’s done is help coach practically half the teams at Special Olympics Florida – Collier County . Her son is heavily involved.

“Just every day being part of Special Olympics and seeing those athletes – the joy on their face is so heart warming,” she said of her involvement.

“It’s still – I don’t believe it. Like, come on, really, the whole state of Florida, 30,000 volunteers and it was me? I don’t know, maybe we paid somebody? (Just kidding.) But I am so humbled by it. It’s so heart warming.”