Bubba Keller, born 24 years ago with Down Syndrome, is proof that handicapped persons can succeed in life through hard work and determination. A Hazel Green resident and a 1993 graduate of Buckhorn High School, Keller has earned a long list of academic and athletic achievements, and has been featured a number of times in the newspapers and on television. He was named the Alabama Special Oympics Athlete of the Year in 1995-96 for his achievements in the sport of powerlifting. In 1995, he represented Alabama and the United States in the International Special Olympics World Games at New Haven, Conn., winning a gold medal in bench press, a silver medal in squats and two bronze medals (deadlift and total). At the 1996 Alabama Special Olympics Games, he won a gold medal in squats and a silver in bench/deadlift. Bubba has also won many local and area awards in powerlifting, swimming, bowling and track and field. A martial arts Taekwondo student, he is only one belt away from black belt. Among his many honors was a plaque from the Metropolitan Kiwanis Club with the inscription: To a Special Friend.