Making a Difference: Rick Olivo and the Special Olympics

By KBJR News 1

April 10, 2014 Updated Apr 10, 2014 at 10:43 PM CDT

Ashland, MN (NNCNOW.com) --- An Ashland man is experiencing a draft after cutting ties with his hair for a good cause.

Rick Olivo had his head shaved to raise money for Special Olympics.

Rick Olivo is normally seen around Ashland taking pictures and asking questions. He's a staff writer and photographer for the local newspaper, The Ashland Daily Press. Recently, he's had a lot of people asking about his missing hair.

"It gives you a teachable moment that you can talk to them about Special Olympics. When people understand it, they say wow, what a great thing! These kids give their darndest" said Staff-Writer for Ashland Daily Press, Rick Olivo.

Rick has been striving to raise funds to send his daughter and another girl from Ashland to the Special Olympics Nationals in New Jersey. He had his head and full beard shaved off in exchange for donations. He says the Special Olympics gives confidence to those who participate.

"The Special Olympics shows them and the rest of the world, what exactly they're capable of" said Olivo.

His daughter agrees...

"The Special Olympics has really brought me out of my shell. I was very shy, I didn't want to try new things because I was afraid" said Special Olympian, Melanie Olivo.

Melanie is going to the Special Olympics to compete in bowling, while her friend and fellow athlete from Ashland, Katelyn Fulweber, is going for swimming, but that's not all Special Olympics has opened her up to trying.

"Swimming, basketball, track, and downhill skiing." said Special Olympian, Katelyn Fulweber.

Katelyn's mother says that Katelyn didn't used to be so outgoing.

"She would hide behind me, she wouldn't really talk to anybody" said Katelyn's Mother, Michelle Fulweber.

But after a few practices, things changed.

"She would come home and say 'Thank you, mom. Now I don't have to sit in my room" said Fulweber.

Katelyn and Melanie are two of 62 athletes from Wisconsin going to the Special Olympics Nationals.

As for Rick, he continues to help fund raise and plans on holding a car wash soon, while his hair continues to grow back.

The Special Olympics Nationals will begin on June 14th in New Jersey.

Bryce Henry