March 28, 2017  |  08:24 am

St. Tammany Parish Sheriff Randy Smith will serve as honorary chair of the2017 Special Olympics fundraiser to be held in Mandeville in April, and the The Louisiana River Pilots Association has signed on as Champion for the event, which is the organization's largest fundraiser each year.

This was announced at a special press conference held this morning at the St. Tammany Parish Justice Center.

With its $25,000 donation, the LRPA becomes the first and largest donor for the event, for which organizers are seeking $10,000, $5,000 and $1,000 level supporters.

"LRPA has long been a supporter of Special Olympics of Louisiana, and we're proud to support this year's event," said Larry Rase, executive director of the organization. "Special Olympians are outstanding citizens and extraordinary individuals, and we're so happy to be a part of their success."

"We're very thankful to have the support of the River Pilots," said Sheriff Smith, who attended the event last year as sheriff-elect with more than a dozen uniformed deputies. "The success of these athletes- in athletics and in life- depends largely on the generosity of corporate and individual donors and volunteers, and the LRPA's contribution sends a great message of community."

"Having the support of the River Pilots again and to have added Sheriff Smith as our Honorary Chairman are great blessings to Special Olympics Louisiana and to the athletes we serve," said Pat Carpenter Bourgeois, president and CEO of the organization. "We're continuously gratified by the support of community leaders like these, and by the love our athletes receive- and the love they give back."

The 7 a.m. breakfast event on April 27 will be the largest 2016 fundraiser for the Florida Parishes region, which includes St. Tammany, Washington, Tangipahoa, Livingston and St. Helena Parishes. Benedict's Plantation in Mandeville will once again be the venue.

For more information about the April event or to become a sponsor, contact event coordinator Mary Louise Prudhomme at 225-505-7093.