Jim Balamaci memorial this weekend
The memorial for the president and CEO of Special Olympics Alaska, Jim Balamaci, will be held this weekend.
Balamaci's Celebration of Life will be held this Sunday at 4 p.m. at the Alaska Airlines Center. The event was pushed back to March to accommodate attendance of family, athletes and friends who are traveling in from Outside.
Balamaci died unexpectedly on the morning of February 1. He was 63-years-old.
"The Special Olympics Alaska board and staff are at a loss for words but we are here to support each other as a community," Special Olympics Alaska spokeswoman Jessica Bjornstad wrote in a release announcing the memorial.
Balamaci began volunteering with Special Olympics Alaska in 1979 before moving onto coaching in the '80s. He became president and CEO in 1996.
"Under his leadership, Alaska hosted the 2001 World Winter Games," Bjornstad said in a release Friday. "Balamaci was much more than the President/CEO of the organization-- he was a friend and mentor to each and every athlete. He constantly stressed the importance of inclusion and acceptance in our society of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. He fully dedicated his life to Special Olympics. It was Balamaci’s sole mission and purpose that every single person in the world be aware of and support the Special Olympics organization and its core values: community is our focus, sport is our passion, health is our commitment and excellence is our goal."
The service will be hosted by KTVA's James Gaddis and Megan Mazurek, along with Ayesha Abdul-Jillil. Father Vasili Hillhouse will facilitate the invocation. All of Alaska's Congressional Delegation will be in attendance and are expected to speak.
Board Chair Charles Michael is also expected to deliver remarks, along with Chair-Elect Paul Landes and President and CEO Nicolle Egan.
The event will follow the closing ceremony of the winter games.
The community is invited to attend the Celebration of Life event.
If you're unable to attend, you can watch the Celebration of Life event LIVE right here on KTVA.com.
Copyright 2018 KTVA. All rights reserved.