Van Wyck plans homecoming for Crawford

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By Chris McGinn

VAN WYCK – The Van Wyck community is celebrating a favorite son – Shawn Crawford – with a homecoming celebration at 3:30 p.m. Saturday at the community center.

"He has accomplished something no one else in Lancaster County has," said Betty Broome.

Crawford won a silver medal in the 200-meter race at the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympic Games. He won a gold and silver medal at the 2004 Athens Summer Olympic Games in track events.

Crawford will be honored by local dignitaries and former coaches. Gov. Mark Sanford is sending a statement of congratulations.

Clemson University is planning to honor Crawford, who is the most decorated Olympian to have attended the school.

Crawford made a brief appearance at the Van Wyck Fall Festival and car show last month.

He has a home in Monroe, but will return to Los Angeles for training in November.

The community hosted a similar event in 2004 after his participation in the Athens games. More than 600 people attended.

Broome, who is on the homecoming celebration sub-committee, said they also dedicated the walking path at the center as the Shawn Crawford Fitness Track at the previous event.

Pat Oglesby, another member of the committee, said that Crawford is always humble about his achievements. He was awarded the silver medal following the disqualification of two runners for lane violations in the Beijing race.

"We don't want to make a big deal about what place [he won], but that he participated and we are proud of him," Oglesby said.

She said she hopes he will bring the medal because people are curious to see it.

He recently donated his uniform, shoes and bag from the Olympics to a local fundraiser to raise money for autism research. The items brought more than $7,500.

"That's Shawn. He's a very generous person," said Broome.

Commemorative T-shirts will be sold at the event for $10, and Crawford will be available to sign them. For details, contact Broome at bettybroome@comporium.net.