Pitt County Program Coordinator Receives Special Olympics NC Honor
GREENVILLE, NC (WNCT) – Brent Harpe, local program coordinator for Special Olympics Pitt County, has been named the 2022 Special Olympics North Carolina (SONC) Coordinator of the Year, according to Keith L. Fishburne, president/CEO of HIS C.
Harpe received the award at SONC’s Eastern Leadership Conference in Clayton, North Carolina on July 18.
Each county has a local program coordinator who serves as the leader for Special Olympics in their community. They are appointed and accredited to fulfill their roles by SONC.
Harp is employed by the Greenville Recreation and Parks Department as a specialty recreation supervisor, where he also serves as the local program coordinator for Special Olympics Pitt County, a role he assumed in 2019. Throughout Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, Harpe has supported the local fundraising program in his post, raising more than $16,000 in 2021.
“Our local program coordinators do a lot in their leadership role for Special Olympics athletes,” Fishburne said. “Brent is fantastic with the Pitt County athletes. We are grateful for his dedication and appreciate the success he brings to his community for Special Olympics.
The Special Olympics Pitt County basketball team represented Team SONC at the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games in Orlando, Florida from June 5-12. Led by Head Coach Raymond Henderson and Coach Harpe, the team raised over $25,000 to attend the Games, surpassing their fundraising goal of $22,000. At the end of the Games, the team returned to Greenville with a silver medal.
“It was the trip of a lifetime,” Harpe said. “I was really proud of my team. They represented North Carolina and Greenville very well… Five of our eight athletes had never flown, so it was a unique experience for them. Going to Walt Disney World, without Special Olympics, would never have happened to them. »
An advocate for implementing new athletic program opportunities for athletes, Harpe introduced a Special Olympics golf program through Brook Valley Country Club in Greenville.
In 2020, SONC launched the Partner Up Power Up program, a 10-week Unified Sports® training and fitness plan that can be completed from home, without internet access. Unified Sports programs bring people with and without developmental disabilities together through sport, helping to create communities of acceptance and respect. In fall 2021, Special Olympics Pitt County had 118 participants and 123 participants in spring 2022.
“I would like to do more unified sports programs to involve people with and without developmental disabilities,” Harpe said. “I would like to organize a Spring Games for the first time in three years and I am starting a soccer program for young people.”
In the fall of 2022, Harpe will help launch the Special Olympics Pitt County Kick’n It Football Clinics for children ages 8-18. Harpe has also worked to support Unified Football programming through a partnership with East Carolina University Campus Recreation and Wellness. Leveraging community partnerships, Harpe has amplified the impact of Special Olympics in Pitt County.
“Special Olympics means a lot to me,” said Harpe. “It gave me a lot of direction in my career, wanting to help people with disabilities. I believe in the general message of Special Olympics and in kindness and acceptance.