St. Augustine Publix employee heading to 2022 Special Olympics

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. — A Publix employee in St. Augustine has been selected to compete for all Publix stores in St. John’s County at the Special Olympics.

James “JR” Lobinsky has been working at one of St. Augustine’s Publix stores for the past 12 years.

“When I found out I got selected, I was like, ‘Oh my goodness gracious!’” Lobinsky said.

The Special Olympics is a big deal to Lobinsky. It’s about making friends and pushing himself beyond his limit. He’ll be doing a pentathlon, including an 800-meter run, high jumps and long jumps.

The Special Olympics gives year-round sports training to people with intellectual disabilities like Lobinsky, who has Autism.

“It’s about those people trying to get together, play whatever sport they do, have fun doing it,” Lobinsky told Action News Jax.

Since 1993, Publix customers and employees have contributed $54 million to the Special Olympics, helping almost 900 athletes in St. John’s County to train and compete for free.

“I’m definitely hoping for first,” Lobinsky said, adding that the Special Olympics is most importantly about having a good time and bonding with fellow competitors. “That’s what Special Olympics always is about, not just winning the goal, but having fun.”

The Special Olympics will be held in Orlando next year from June 5 to June 12. Lobinsky tells Action News Jax he is already starting to train.

Grab some tissues before watching the sweet surprise. You can watch below: