During National Disability Employment Awareness Month, we’re saluting people who have stepped ahead, above and beyond in the name of equitable opportunity and employment for people with disabilities.

Meet, Ben.

Ben P

Ben holding his track and field medal. Ben will be advancing to the 2022 USA National games in Florida.

I have two jobs—I work at Grand Rapids Marine, where I clean on the janitorial staff. And I also work at MDI. When I’m not at my jobs, I like hanging out with my family.

But what I love most is competing in Special Olympics. My favorite part of Special Olympics is meeting new people and being with a lot of my friends. Every winter, I support Special Olympics Minnesota by joining other MDI people in the Polar Plunge.

One of my favorite things to do is track. I’ve been competing in that since 2003. Last year, the Special Olympics Summer Games were virtual. But next summer, I’ll be going to the national games in Orlando, Florida in June. I get to travel with my mom, dad, sister and brother.

Before I compete, I get ready by eating spaghetti and mac and cheese. I just fill up my whole plate with pasta. But when I’m not competing, I love junk food!