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'We never say no': Public Address who is blind takes mic for Special Olympics basketball

Terry Halstead gets back behind the mic for local games
Terry Halstead takes mic for Special Olympics basketball games
Posted at 10:01 PM, Nov 01, 2021

WYOMING, Mich. — Terry Halstead is one of the biggest sports fans you'll ever meet, even though he's never physically watched a game.

Despite being blind, David's House Ministries and Special Olympics are helping him put his talents and passion to great use.

"I like to hear the announcers," Halstead said, "just like growing up, I liked Ernie Harwell and Paul Carey."

Being born blind hasn't allowed him to watch those big games, but he has been tuned into every word over the years.

"I liked Harwell's distinct phrases and all of his expressions like, 'Caught standing there like a house on the side of the road and watching that one go by for strike three!'"

Blind PA announcer becomes part of Special Olympics basketball games

Terry has always been supportive of his friends at David's House, attending many of their Special Olympics basketball games.

However, he always wanted to be more than just a fan.

"One day, he came up to me and said, 'Coach Bill, do you think I could announce the games?'" chuckled Special Olympics basketball coach, Bill Dombrowski.

Halstead still recalls the conversation, four years later.

"I said, 'Coach Bill, I would like to be an announcer for your team.'"

In 50 years of coacahing, Dombrowski has always found a way to include everybody.

"All the years that I've coached, we have had athletes that have had multiple disabilities, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, we've never said no to anyone."

And that still hasn't changed.

"I enjoy it, it gets me out and I can do something with the abilities that God gave," Terry added.

He is now serving as the Public Address announcer for some Special Olympics basketball games, specifically for the Area 12 Cougars, coached by Dombrowski.

Without being able to see the action, Terry is helped by his caregiver at David's House, Dean Nelson.

"I get to be his eyes and I sit right next to him and I whisper into his ears things like, 'They're going coast to coast for the bucket!'" Nelson laughed.

Instead of sitting in the stands and soaking in the sounds of his friends scoring, he is now on the front-lines of all the action.

"We really forget about the fact that he can't see," Nelson added, "he's using all of the other unique gifts the Lord has given him and it's been a blessing to so many."

Terry says it has been a dream come true for him to get behind the mic and it's an opportunity he never thought was possible.

"I am, I'm very thankful," he said.

After years together at David's House, Nelson and Halstead now can share a special bond at games.

"He's been able to bring a unique aspect to Special Olympics basketball," said Nelson.

On Saturday, after over 18 months off due to the pandemic, Terry got back behind the mic for two games.

"Welcome all to Special Olympics basketball," Halstead addressed the crowd on Saturday, "I know it has been months and it feels like years since we've played a game," he added.

Dombrowski says Terry is just one example of the inclusion of Special Olympics and the unique partnership between them and David's House.

"We never said no, we will always find a way," he said, "Terry has been a fulfillment of the next opportunity to help people achieve their highest potential."

As for his message to others just like him, Halstead has one.

"You can find something positive in all of us."

The Special Olympics of Michigan will be holding the state basketball finals on Friday, November 12 at its new location on 68th street.