by Angela Martin

Jonah Bylsma accepts the 2017 Timothy Krause Bunbury Award at the State Winter Games.

Special Olympics Michigan (SOMI) Athlete Jonah Bylsma, 22, from Hudsonville, Michigan was awarded the Timothy Krause Bunbury Award at the 2017 State Winter Games on Wednesday, February 1. This award is given annually to an alpine skiing during the State Winter Games presented by Wertz Warriors in memory of Special Olympics Athlete Timothy Krause Bunbury.

Jonah has been involved with SOMI for over a decade. Whether he is competing in sports or singing in choir Jonah is recognized among fellow athletes for his infectious smile and positive attitude. Those around him say he is the "ultimate smile machine".

"If you look up 'sportsmanship' in the dictionary, you would probably find Jonah's picture there," said Mark Dalman, Area 12 Area Director.

Not only does Jonah compete as a level III skier during the winter season, he also participates in basketball, cycling, soccer, softball, poly hockey and swimming. Jonah has represented Area 12 and SOMI at two national competitions.

"It feels phenomenal," said Jonah, "after all these years partaking in Special Olympics, it just feels wonderful."

Timothy Krause Bunbury was an avid skier who passed away at a young age. His family wanted the award in Timothy's honor to recognize a SOMI athlete for training diligently in the sport of alpine skiing. Each year, area directors may nominate one athlete from his/her area to be considered for the award.

Jonah was awarded the Timothy Krause Bunbury Award at the State Winter Games opening ceremony where he was honored with a Wertz Warriors jacket. The State Winter Games were held at the Grand Traverse Resort & Spa, Schuss Mountain at Shanty Creek Resort and Howe Ice Arena in Traverse City. Approximately 900 athletes, 350 coaches/chaperones and 500 volunteers participate in this event each year.