This is the main content.

May 9, 2024 — Four Publix associates are preparing to go for the gold this month in their state Special Olympics. Associates Andrew Ahearn, Charlotte Lewis, Michael Mastrangelo and Sabrina Molina will compete in the upcoming summer state games. 

Publix is committed to supporting our associates and Special Olympics athletes. The mission of Special Olympics is to provide year-round sports training and competitions in a variety of Olympic-type sports for people with intellectual disabilities. These opportunities give individuals a chance to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage and experience joy.

Since 1993, Publix has collaborated with the organization for an annual register campaign to raise awareness and funds. This year’s campaign helped raise more than $5.6 million for athletes to train and compete in 2024, with total contributions of more than $76 million since 1993. 

These four accomplished athletes are looking to add another medal to their Special Olympics journey. 

Meet Andrew

Andrew is a front service clerk at #877, Land O’ Lakes, Florida. He started working for Publix in 2017, but his journey with Special Olympics began in 2012 with encouragement from his late father, whose memory inspires Andrew to keep going. 

Andrew competes in open-water swimming, soccer, flag football, bowling and basketball, but his favorite event is the triathlon. An accomplished athlete, Andrew has competed in several events, including the 2015 Special Olympics World Games and the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games, and has won several medals. 

In 2023, Andrew was recognized as the Special Olympics Florida Athlete of the Year for his leadership, dedication to teammates, sportsmanship and commitment to helping others. Andrew dedicates his time to helping other athletes by being a Health Messenger. In this role, he helps by serving as a health and wellness leader, educator, advocate and role model.

“It’s important to me that I advocate healthy eating and exercise to my fellow Special Olympics athletes,” said Andrew. “I want to show them they can do anything.” 

Andrew is looking forward to competing, having fun and being around his family and friends for the Florida Special Olympics State Games this May 17 and 18 in Orlando, Florida. 

Meet Charlotte

Charlotte is a cashier at #1205, Bluffton, South Carolina, and started working at Publix 10 years ago. She began her Special Olympics journey after a fellow associate introduced her to the organization. For six years, Charlotte has competed in a wide variety of sports, including basketball, bocce, equestrian, bowling and kayaking. In 2023, she traveled overseas for the first time to compete in the Special Olympics World Games in Berlin, where she won several medals, including a gold medal for kayaking in the 200-meter individual. A bowling aficionado, Charlotte has competed in the Special Olympics North America Bowling Championship and won several gold medals. 

Charlotte is dedicated to being an advocate for her Special Olympics community, including during Publix’s register campaign for the organization. To further her commitment, she is currently training to become a Special Olympics Global Messenger. In this role, athletes campaign for a more inclusive world by advocating for individuals with intellectual disabilities and challenging the mindsets of society as a whole.

“I want to show the world that I can do anything I set my mind to,” Charlotte said.

Charlotte is excited to begin competing with her fellow Special Olympics athletes in the South Carolina Special Olympics State Games this May 10 – 12 in Columbia, South Carolina.

Meet Michael 

Michael is a cashier at #1096, Acworth, Georgia, and started working for Publix 11 years ago. He has been participating in Special Olympics events since middle school. Michael competes and has medaled in several sports, including bowling, softball, basketball, table tennis and cross country. His favorite sport to compete in is soccer, and he has traveled to Chicago, Orlando and Salt Lake City to compete in matches. 

Michael is a dedicated Publix associate who looks forward to collecting funds to help raise awareness and help other Special Olympics athletes during Publix’s annual campaign. At his store, customers are eager to check out with him during the campaign.

“We’ll have three registers open to assist customers, and two of them will be empty,” said Assistant Store Manager Stuart Barksdale. “Customers wait in Michael’s line so they can donate at his register.” 

“It makes me proud to know I’m making a difference for other Special Olympics athletes,” said Michael.  

Looking ahead, Michael has been training and perfecting his flag football skills ahead of this year’s event. He looks forward to competing and having fun with his friends in the Georgia Special Olympics State Games this May 24 – 26 in Atlanta. 

Meet Sabrina 

Sabrina is a front service clerk at #1116, Nashville, Tennessee, and began working for Publix in 2023. She started her Special Olympics journey 21 years ago. Sabrina competes in a variety of events, including skating, basketball, soccer, flag football and bowling, but her favorite event is track and field. Representing Tennessee, she competed in the Special Olympics USA games in 2022. Sabrina has won several medals, but that’s just one part of what makes Special Olympics special for Sabrina. 

“I like competing as a part of a team while getting to have fun,” said Sabrina. “Making friends while competing to win is special.” 

Outside of Special Olympics, she enjoys her job at Publix, happily assisting customers and performing her favorite task: collecting carts. 

Sabrina is excited to compete — with her fellow associates cheering her on — in the Tennessee Special Olympics State Games May 17 and 18 in Nashville. 

The Finish Line

Publix is proud of these Special Olympics athletes and their dedication to making an impact through sports and their communities. Athletes nationwide will join Andrew, Charlotte, Michael and Sabrina to compete in their own state games and go for the gold. Publix remains committed to ensuring Special Olympics athletes have the resources to become successful for years to come.