FORT GORDON, Ga. – Exchange Service food service worker James “Jay” Flythe wasn’t at work for more than three weeks, but he had a good excuse: he was in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates competing in the Special Olympics World Summer Games.
“The Exchange is very excited that Jay got to compete on a world stage,” said Exchange General Manager Nicholas Nguyen. “We’re proud of his accomplishments and glad he’s back with us.”
Flythe represented the United States in Unified Table Tennis at the Games, a sport he only recently began playing. He and his partner came in fifth place in the Unified Males Double Group 2, Division 1.
“It was a really fun experience being in Abu Dhabi,” Flythe said.
‘A true asset’
Flythe’s co-workers at the Exchange, where he has worked for five years, surprised him with a “Welcome Home” cake and celebration.
“Jay is a true asset to our food court. He’s liked by everyone, customers and associates alike,” said Ingrid De Luca, food court manager. “While Jay was gone, we were all checking our phones at odd hours because of the time difference to see how he was doing. We’re super happy he’s back.”
The feeling is mutual for Flythe, who enjoyed his time in Abu Dhabi but is glad “just to be home.”
Flythe has been active in local Special Olympics competitions for more than two decades in a variety of sports, including softball, swimming, bowling and bocce, but this was his first opportunity to appear at the World Games.