If one would have to describe Patrick Rhoads in one word, “dedicated” would be a top choice. Other words that immediately come to mind are “relentless”, “enduring”, and “cheerful”.

Rhoads, who represented Special Olympics New Jersey at the USA Summer Games 2022 in Florida, will also have to resort to stamina and strength at this year’s Special Olympics New Jersey Summer Games, where he will go for gold in the 200m Dash, Shot Put and 4x 100m Relay. As Olivia Feriozzi, who was his head coach at the USA Games can attest, Rhoads is a fierce competitor. “The first time I met Pat,” Feriozzi says, “he joked that I was taking it too easy on him. He is a person who sets his own bar. In Florida, he ran so hard over the finish line he fell and got right up by himself. All I could think of was this is what it looks like to compete with heart.”

The attributes that make Rhoads a formidable athlete also help him excel at his job, as evidenced in an article from October 2023 by his employer. Qualities like dedication and attention to detail are mentioned, as well as loyalty and his contagious smile. Click here for the full article.

Another place where Rhoads’ work ethic is on full display is during his workouts at the Wawa Exercise & Wellness Center. With a big smile, he playfully haggles with his coaches over the length of warmups and cooldowns, or the number of repetitions. Rhoads always wants to go longer and do more, and only takes breaks for water.

Says Feriozzi: “Whenever I want to wrap up a workout, Pat will give me a smile and point to something we didn’t do. He never quits. He works hard, makes everything count, and makes everyone around him better in the process. As a trainer and a coach, there’s not much more you can ask for than what he gives on his own. Anyone who meets Pat would be instantly inspired. I am lucky to know him.”

What better way to experience Rhoads’ dedication than to spectate at the SONJ Summer Games? You will also have an opportunity to see hundreds of other amazing athletes compete. Or, if you want to have an immersive experience with SONJ athletes, you may want to consider volunteering. The games are held at TCNJ campus in Ewing, and run from June 7 – 9, 2024.

3 comments on “Faces of SONJ: Patrick Rhoads”

  1. 1
    Joseph Capone on May 28, 2024

    Joseph Capone Has Been Participating In 8 Sports For The 3rd Year Which Is Soccer Flag Football Basketball Tennis Bocce Powerlifting Swimming Track & Field Athletics He Has Been Doing 8 Races Like Helene Cody Cranbury 5K Mercer County Dragonboat Festival Community Day Eden 5K Meadows Miler Thanks4Giving Plunge Splash N Dash Hopewell Valley Turkey Trot Jingle All The Way 3K Polar Bear Plunge Seaside Heights Fall Sports Festival At Parking Lot 1 In West Windsor Township Spring Games Basketball In Wildwood Summer Games At The College Of New Jersey Train Ride To NYC On Sunday The 28th Adaptive Dance On Friday Before Sunday Dinner Takeout On Sunday Dinner Special On Sunday

  2. 2
    Thomas Humphrey on June 2, 2024

    PATRICK RHOADS, as a person wihout speaking ability, says more than most of us with one of his smiles, his forceful nod to show his agreement with you, or his smile to show his pleasure in what you said to him. He leaves no doubt that he is not in agreement with you or is not happy with his performance when his face distorts to a scowl, his lips curl up tightly, and he waves his hand in a negative way–like he is erasing that result. More inportantly, Patrick, is dependable, pleasant, and totalaly interested in everyone he meets. And he makes friends fast. No wonder, his supervisors at the Mercer County Special Services School have valued his contributions on the maintenance staff for over 25 years. In the special olympics games, he has moved as he ages from baseball, soccer, football to track and field events. He is not ready to retire.

  3. 3
    Matt Carey on June 6, 2024

    Great article! Patrick is a “rock star!”

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