Congratulations to our
2014 Special Olympics Inductee:
On January 26, 2018 our first Special Olympics Inductee was called home to heaven. Our hearts are sadden with Donald’s passing, but are filled with joy when we turn to our memories of this very special man. Donald touched numerous lives during his time on earth and has left a legacy of kindness and love to everyone he met. He was very honored to be our first inductee and proudly displayed his plaque on his “Wall of Fame” with many pictures from his big night. He is at peace with his mom now, and we miss him very much!
Donald proved to be a seasoned journeyman Special Olympian for over 48 years, winning 315 Gold, Silver and Bronze medals in nine different sports: which is every sport Special Olympics offered. Donald loved to compete, but loved helping other teammates and coaches just as much. He was always very helpful and encouraging to everyone around him. In his later years Donald developed Early Alzheimer’s and Vasovagal episodes which had stolen some of his skill set – but he continued on giving it his all, as was his trademark. His smile continued to make everyone around him happy.
Donald’s favorite teams were all from Texas – the Rockets, Astros and Titans (aka Houston Oilers). When he was in his room watching his team play, he was very passionate and would let the referee’s know about their mistakes as well - but should his team be left out of the playoffs or not last during the playoffs, he would switch gears and be for the team his family was rooting for and try to lead you to believe he really liked your team.
Donald and his father would go to the gym everyday as soon as he would get off the bus from work and do a thorough workout – however his favorite was the weight lifting bench. The big guys are always amazed by the amount of weight or reps he performs, which of course results in lots of attention. Everyone knew Donald at the gym, would tease him in a friendly way and show their love for him as well. In Texas his team did many arm wrestling fund raisers – those Texans love their arm wrestling. Donald’s coach called him “the little bull” – don’t make the mistake of asking him to arm wrestle.
Donald was the first Special Olympic athlete to be inducted into the Sacramento Sports Hall of Fame, and it meant so much to him. In his room, Donald and his father created a "Wall of Fame" with pictures of his special night. Looking at it made him always feel so special. He was so honored to be inducted and returned each year with his father to support and honor the inductees who came after him. Each year Donald was excited to see everyone at the event and his smile would light up the room.
Donald's father, Dewayne Schendel, continues to be a huge supporter of Special Olympics and the Sacramento Sports Hall of Fame. He attends the event each year, and was the presenter for 2019 Inductee, Rolando Jimenez. Donald's huge smile and big heart will be in our memories forever.
Click HERE for more photos of past inductees and nominees.