All Smiles at the 2023 Guardian Games to Benefit Special Olympics

Apr 28, 2023

Special-needs athletes gathered on April 7 to take part in the 2023 Guardian Games in Glendale’s Westgate Entertainment District. 

Longtime U-Haul partner Sanderson Ford founded the Guardian Games in 2017 to provide athletes the chance to compete through Special Olympics Arizona in a series of fun, friendly competitions.

U-Haul has participated as a sponsor or a volunteer team each year of the event, and was on site again this year to lend a helping hand.  

A day at the games 

Volunteers from across Arizona joined with members of law enforcement and athletes to create strong teams and long-lasting memories.

Following the opening ceremonies, teams were introduced to a series of challenges and games including a baseball homerun derby, street hockey, basketball, football, cornhole and golf. The Guardian Games even included creative events like Family Feud, guessing music titles and pushing police cruisers.

Voices of the volunteers 

This year’s Guardian Games featured a team of eight enthusiastic U-Haul volunteers.  

“The opportunity for our team members to assist, cheer and interact with Special Olympics athletes is one we always want to embrace,” U-Haul Manager of Media and Public Relations Jeff Lockridge said. “The Guardian Games offers a unique volunteering event, and probably one of the most emotionally fulfilling experiences we can extend to Team U-Haul here in the Valley. 

“Getting to know the athletes and witness the successes that they experience from friendly competition is a joy,” Lockridge continued. “From scoring a goal in street hockey, to swatting a home run in wiffle ball, to correctly guessing the song name and artist in music trivia, there is something that seems to resonate with every athlete. I think our Team Members always leave the Guardian Games with a big smile, and maybe a little sunburn. It’s an event we circle on the calendar each year, and one I’d encourage everyone at U-Haul to participate in at some point.”

Sense of community

“Volunteering at events like the Guardian Games is important on a community and an individual level, and I really love that U-Haul is a part of these events,” Corporate Sustainability Community Advocate Alexis Spell said. “Being there built me up mentally and physically. It brought energy and a sense of community that I’d been craving. I’m proud of myself for participating and grateful to U-Haul for encouraging team members to be a part of these events.”

Smiles were shared between volunteers and athletes alike from the beginning of the day to well past the closing ceremonies and lunch. The passion, competition and camaraderie shared throughout the day created lasting memories for all involved.

More articles like this one…

What’s New

U-Haul, Tribute Journey Spread Valentine’s Day Love to Veterans

U-Haul, Tribute Journey Spread Valentine’s Day Love to Veterans

February 14 is not just Valentine's Day. It is recognized as a National Salute to Veteran Patients day. During Valentine's Day week each year, U-Haul and the Tribute Journey say “thank you” to veterans of the U.S. Armed Services who are cared for in Department of...

U-Haul International Moves with U-Box Makes Moving Abroad Easy

U-Haul International Moves with U-Box Makes Moving Abroad Easy

Every new year invites new adventures. If your 2024 adventures include moving abroad, U-Haul International Moves® is equipped and licensed to support your exciting transition each step of the way. The U-Haul® brand is known globally for empowering do-it-yourself...

U-Haul Helps Kurt Warner Charity Change Lives of Arizona Family

U-Haul Helps Kurt Warner Charity Change Lives of Arizona Family

When Luz decided to apply for Habitat for Humanity of Central Arizona’s Homeownership Program, she had no idea just how much of an impact it would have on her son, Jason. The family met Habitat’s criteria and completed more than 400 hours of “sweat equity” by working...

U-Haul Recognizes Its 2023 Volunteers of the Year

U-Haul Recognizes Its 2023 Volunteers of the Year

TEMPE, Ariz. — Michelle Vukov-Mikel and Michele Ramirez have been honored as the U-Haul® Volunteers of the Year for 2023. At the end of each year, U-Haul recognizes the Team Member(s) who has volunteered the most hours, supported the greatest number of U-Haul charity...

2023 U-Haul Canadian Growth Cities: Alberta Markets Top List

2023 U-Haul Canadian Growth Cities: Alberta Markets Top List

Alberta is the leading growth province for 2023 while its largest market, Calgary, is Canada’s top growth city based on the one-way U-Haul transactions of do-it-yourself movers. The U-Haul Growth Index found that Calgary, Edmonton and Camrose were all among Canada’s...

2023 U-Haul U.S. Growth Cities: 7 of Top 25 Destinations in Florida

2023 U-Haul U.S. Growth Cities: 7 of Top 25 Destinations in Florida

Florida destinations dominated the U.S. growth cities list again in 2023, with the Palm Bay-Melbourne market netting the largest number of movers in one-way U-Haul® equipment last year. The U-Haul Growth Index found seven Florida markets among the top 25 growth cities...

2023 U-Haul Growth States: Texas and Florida Top List Again

2023 U-Haul Growth States: Texas and Florida Top List Again

Texas netted the largest number of movers in one-way U-Haul® equipment in 2023, marking the third consecutive year it has finished atop the U-Haul Growth Index. Florida ranks right behind Texas among growth states for the third year in a row, followed by North...

U-Box Load Share Wins Most Environmentally Friendly Award

U-Box Load Share Wins Most Environmentally Friendly Award

U-Box® Load Share is the Best in Biz Awards gold winner for the Most Environmentally Friendly Service of the Year. The green U-Haul® program also won two silver awards for Most Innovative Service of the Year and Consumer Service of the Year. The three designations for...