When Richard Haines sees the smiles of the Special Olympians he knows his volunteer efforts are worthwhile.
“This has grown so much,” he said. “I’m very excited about what the athletes have done.
“A lot of the athletes haven’t travelled much before, and this is giving them the opportunity. To be part of that is an honour.”
Monday, Haines, who has been regional coordinator for Cobequid Special Olympics for the past 10 years, was presented with a Provincial Volunteer Award. But he’s very modest about it.
“There are so many great people, so many volunteers who do so much more,” he said.
Haines’s work with Special Olympics began in 2006, when a friend asked if he could help with registration one evening. This led into accompanying athletes on trips, and then to taking on the role of regional coordinator.
He now organizes events, handles online posting, and helps with fundraising and get-togethers.
He is a long-time member of a Masonic Lodge and says a lot of what he learned in that organization helped him in his role with Special Olympics.
“Seeing the athletes grow and become independent adults is amazing, and I’ve seen it so many times,” he added. “It’s something you treasure your whole life.
“That’s what this is all about; giving the athletes opportunities.”
New volunteers are always welcome.