By Kristin Rover
Milford’s own Johnny Vilardo earned a gold medal at the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games held in New Jersey on June 12-20.
Vilardo competed in the Level Four individual stroke play 9-hole division in the tournament contested at Mercer Oaks Golf Course.
Vilardo said he played Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday at the tournament.
“It was a fantastic tournament,” he said.
His score was 133 after three rounds, which earned him the gold medal.
“I was so happy I won my tournament,” Vilardo said about the achievement.
The 2014 Special Olympics USA Games was the largest national Special Olympics games in the United States, according to Special Olympics.
The games included 16 different sports competitions and more than 3,500 athletes.
Vilardo said he loved participating in the games.
“I had fun,” Vilardo said. “I had the best time up there meeting new people.”
Several of Vilardo’s family members also attended the event to cheer him on.
“It was beautiful,” Marissa Vilardo, Johnny’s niece, said about the tournament. “It was super emotional seeing him play.”
Vilardo was recognized at the July 1 Milford City Council meeting.
Milford Mayor Laurie Howland congratulated Vilardo, who is also known as the honorary mayor of the city.
Council members also expressed their congratulations.
“I just want to say how proud we are of you,” Councilwoman Amy Brewer told Vilardo. “It is a feat that 99 percent of people couldn’t do on our best day.”
For more information about the 2014 Special Olympics Games visit https://www.2014specialolympics.org/.