MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Michael Poll has had challenges in his life, but he's overcome them with his big heart and loving spirit. There's even a spirit award in Poll's name given to the UW-Milwaukee sports team that best exemplifies his great qualities.
Chances are, if you go to a UW-Milwaukee basketball game, you'll see Michael Poll. For years, he has been as big a part of the Panthers basketball teams as anybody.
FOX6's Tom Pipines met 38-year-old Poll when he participated in the Special Olympics. Now, he's such a star that he has his own bobblehead!
"We just wanted to do something to honor him and give back to the Special Olympics at the same time, so a portion of the proceeds goes towards the Special Olympics. Everybody in Wisconsin loves bobbleheads, so we thought that'd be a great way to do it," Poll's friend Phil Sklar said.
"When he first found out about the bobblehead he was super excited and kept asking for updates almost every day about when the bobbleheads will be ready, and they took a couple of months to get made and when they came in he was pretty excited to see it," Poll's friend Brad Novak said.
"Unbelievable! I can't believe my best friends did this to me! It feels great! When I found this out, I was so happy! The best day of my life. This is the best day of my life," Poll said.
"That's great to see him run around at Major Goolsby's after the game -- to different restaurants, bars -- when he sees people he knows around town, when we're at a Wave game or Bucks game he just sees people he knows and shows them the bobblehead and they get out their wallet right away. They want a bobblehead, and Michael, you know, he's such a great guy," Sklar said.
Poll's parents say that Poll has become a celebrity who walks in some pretty important circles.
"He got a thank you note from Scott Walker -- hand-written, personally, so from the Governor down to the Mayor -- just about anywhere. I remember once we were in New York for the World Games for Special Olympics. We were at the top of the Empire State Building and we hear somebody 'hey Michael Poll!' So he truly impacts a lot of lives," Poll's mother, Connie Poll said.
"He is special and he has impacted a lot of lives. We know that Michael is mentally challenged, but he is spiritually and emotionally gifted -- and he really has shared that with everyone around him and with us and we feel very fortunate to have him in our lives," Poll's father, Larry Poll said.
"It's a dream come true for me. This is a dream come true for me and makes me so happy. It changed my life. It's a dream come true. I can't believe they're doing bobbleheads of me. It's unbelievable. Wow," Poll said.
CLICK HERE for additional information on the Michael Poll bobbleheads!