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Parkway South Grad Inducted Into Parkway Hall of Fame

Jeffrey Ottenad battled cancer and special needs to become an accomplished athlete. This month he is being inducted into the Parkway Alumni Hall.

Jeffrey Ottenad, son of Manchester Alderman Marilyn Ottenad and John Ottenad will be inducted into the Parkway Alumni Hall of Fame. 

Jeffrey passed away in 2002 from bone cancer, but lived a life that will never be forgotten. 

"Jeff was the first special needs student who was a full fledge athlete at Parkway South," his mother Marilyn Ottenad tells Patch.

She said her son was nominated by his Parkway South cross country and track coach Jim Schmuck.

"It's amazing. Here is a special ed student who's going into the Parkway Alumni Hall of Fame. While he did graduate with a high school diploma...in my wildest dreams I never thought he would be going into the hall of fame," Ottenad said.

Jeffrey graduated from Parkway South in 1991 and participated in the Missouri Special Olympics for 20 years. He was inducted into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame in 1998

"He repeatedly won gold medals at the summer games in the 1,500 meter and 3,000 meter races, and was a silver medal winner in the 5,000 meter race at the 1995 world Special Olympics," Manchester Mayor David Willson recently stated as he congratulated the Ottenads at a Manchester Board of Aldermen meeting.

In addition, Jeffrey joined police officers and ran the the first leg of the Law Enforcement Torch Run in St. Louis to raise money for Special Olympics. According to Jeffrey's Missouri Sports Hall of Fame induction, that leg of the relay is now named in Jeff’s honor and is run each year in his memory by the police officers.  

In 2000, Jeffrey was diagnosed with bone cancer after a fall while training for the St. Louis Marathon.

Despite having his leg amputated and numerous cancer treatments, he was determined to be an athlete and trained with a prosthetic leg.

Even after the cancer diagnosis, Jeffrey participated in the Special Olympics and the Torch Run Relay.

"He was affectionately nicknamed 'Cheese' by his South High track and cross country teammates because he always smiled when he ran," Willson stated.

Although he succumbed to the bone cancer in 2002, Jeffrey's parents will be smiling Nov 17. when their son's legacy lives on and he is inducted to another hall of fame.

"This just gives hope to other people with special needs kids," Marilyn Ottenad said.

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