Publix associates inducted into Special Olympics Florida Hall of Fame Class of 2022
Two Publix associates were inducted into the Special Olympics Florida Hall of Fame Class of 2022. Jennifer Averette, Monroe County, and Jonathan Doring, Palm Beach County, were recognized for their many contributions to Special Olympics Florida.
Jennifer launched her career with Publix in 2018. She’s currently cross-trained as a cashier and front service clerk in Key West, Florida. Asked what she enjoys about working at Publix, Jennifer said, “I like that it’s a family environment where we take care of each other and our customers.”
It’s also part of why she enjoys participating in Special Olympics.
“The thing I enjoy most about Special Olympics is meeting new friends throughout Florida and the United States,” Jennifer shared. “We’ve become a family, so it’s nice to get to see them and compete in the different events.”
She began participating in Special Olympics when she was 8 years old. More than 30 years later, she’s competed in several events, including swimming, cycling, bowling, bocce ball, pickleball, cheerleading and her favorite — stand-up paddleboarding. In fact, it was Jennifer’s passion for stand-up paddleboarding that brought the sport to Special Olympics.
She often competed in stand-up paddleboard events outside of Special Olympics. It was during these events that she caught the attention of professional paddleboarders, who worked with Special Olympics to make it a sanctioned event that debuted at the 2018 USA games.
In addition to competing as an athlete, Jennifer also enjoys being an advocate for Special Olympians. When asked what it means to be recognized as a Special Olympics Florida Hall of Famer, Jennifer responded, “It’s afforded me the opportunity to share more about what we’re doing with Special Olympics in the Keys.”
In Lake Worth, Florida, Jonathan has worked at Publix since 1998. He currently works as a part-time cashier and says his favorite part of being a cashier is “doing math and counting money.” Jonathan has enjoyed his nearly 25 years at Publix.
“I like being friendly and social,” said Jonathan. “Working at Publix, I get to talk to people and work on my social skills.”
He’s also been able to practice his social skills as a part of Special Olympics. An athlete since 1988, Jonathan’s participated in numerous sports, including golf, bowling, pickleball, softball and tennis. But what’s his favorite?
“Tennis, because I like to exercise and run,” said Jonathan.
In his nearly 35 years as a Special Olympics athlete, he’s participated in three USA Games and two World Games and won more than 100 medals.
“I enjoy traveling, meeting new friends and playing new sports,” said Jonathan. “I also like talking to people about Special Olympics.”
A true advocate for Special Olympics, he’s served as a Global Messenger and wrote a blog that appeared on ESPN’s website while he was working as a tennis referee during the 2015 World Games.
For his efforts, Jonathan has been inducted into the Palm Beach County Sports Hall of Fame and was the 2016 Special Olympics Florida Athlete of the Year. On being named a Special Olympics Florida Hall of Famer, Jonathan said, “It’s a big honor. I’ve already accomplished so many things with Special Olympics, so this means a lot.”