U-Haul Volunteers Support Special Olympics Athletes through Guardian Games

Apr 15, 2024

The Guardian Games have been a popular community event across the Valley since their inception in 2017.

Sanderson Ford®, a longstanding U-Haul® partner, spearheads the friendly competition to fundraise for Special Olympics Arizona® and develop a closer relationship between Special Olympic athletes, law enforcement and Arizona businesses.

Each spring, U-Haul Team Members join with local police officers and other volunteers to give their time and energy to support Special Olympics athletes competing in the Guardian Games. The event brings joy to the community that can’t be found anywhere else.

“There was a very large group of volunteers – so much so that it’s restored my faith in humanity,” said Benjamin Fitzhugh, U-Haul commodity manager.

Glendale’s Westgate Entertainment District once again played host to the Guardian Games on March 22. As a presenting sponsor, U-Haul doubled its normal number of volunteers.

After the event’s inaugural torch lighting, like the one in the Olympic Games, the fun begins. Split into 64 teams, more than 250 athletes, officers and volunteers competed in various games such as basketball, street hockey, Family Feud and Beat Shazam. Each volunteer partners with a Special Olympics athlete, building friendships throughout the day.

“Hearing them speak about their personal passions, whether it be sports or hobbies, and then seeing them participate in the activities was a fun experience,” noted Paulina Alaniz, U-Haul freight operator. “I really enjoyed getting to know my athlete, Katie. She was a great cornhole partner!”

U-Haul Team Members always leave the Guardian Games with big smiles, new friendships and memories to last a lifetime.

“After speaking with most of (the U-Haul volunteers), they all mentioned they look forward to participating in the games every year,” Alaniz added.

Together, the Arizona Special Olympics sponsors and attendees raised $65,000 for the cause. Team U-Haul looks forward to its continued support of Sanderson Ford and being part of this heartwarming event in the years to come.

To read about other U-Haul volunteer events, click here.

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