Special Olympics Montana celebrates 40th anniversary with 40 honorees

Judy Magruder of Brady to be honored

The 20th day of August was a special day because it marked the 40th anniversary of Special Olympics under the Big Sky.

To celebrate the occasion, a gala event will take place the evening of Sept. 25 at the Mansfield Convention Center in Great Falls in which 40 key influencers – individuals, organizations and businesses from all across Montana – will be honored.

Judy Magruder who moved to Brady about two years ago will be one of the 40. She and her husband Tom had lived in Monarch.

“Through sports, the 40 game changers have helped create a world of respect, acceptance and inclusion for people with intellectual disabilities,” says Bob Norbie CEO of Special Olympics Montana.

He went on to add, “These honorees carry the Flame of Hope and span our rich history.”

One of the 40 honorees, Magruder has for 17 years been a faithful steward of the Special Olympics movement in Montana and the only current employed staff member being recognized as one of the 40.

Magruder was humble about being recognized, but commented about her job, “I get to do what I like to do and not everyone can say that.”

A couple of the biggest changes she has noted over time is that when she was first hired as an administrative assistant, the Special Olympics Montana was a staff of three serving less than 1,000 athletes in seven different sports with a budget of less than $200,000.

Today there are more than 2,000 children and adult athletes with intellectually disabilities in 18 Olympic-type sports with more than a dozen paid staff.

Another big change was when they were able to purchase their own building. It changed things remarkably and along with this was the increase in athletes and seeing the sports offered more than double.

She gives a lot of credit for the success of Special Olympics to the foresight of Norbie who has worked their almost as long as she has.

Since those early days, Magruder has grown up with the organization, serving in many different capacities – business manager, vice president of operations, COO, acting executive director, and now as assistant to the president in a part-time capacity.

“In all instances she has been ready and willing to serve the organization in however it can best be served,” said Norbie.

Vicki Dunham, the COO comments that, “No one gives more tirelessly or unselfishly or with more sensitivity than Judy.”

She went on to say, “She shares and supports like most of us breathe and while she has executive-level knowledge and experience, no task is beneath her. She still prefers to work quietly and without fanfare.”

Norbie went on to comment about Magruder, “She exemplifies the best of the best and serves as a model for all of our staff, volunteers and friends of the organization.”

The Special Olympics success and credibility has largely been influenced by this wonderful person in all ways you could possibly imagine, he said.

“We look forward to recognizing her as one of our 40th anniversary gala honorees, she is a real game changer,” he noted.

The public is invited and encouraged to attend. Tables may be sponsored for up to eight people. For more information, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 1-800-242-6876