Raleigh, NC (November 13, 2017) – Sherry Paul, of High Point, NC, was recognized for her outstanding contributions in advocacy and leadership by the North Carolina Council on Developmental Disabilities (NCCDD) at its Advocacy and Leadership Awards Reception on Nov. 1 at the Hilton Garden Inn in Cary, NC.
Paul, most recently retired as a recreation supervisor at High Point Parks and Recreation, was awarded the coveted Jack B. Hefner Memorial Award which celebrates the vision and achievement of advocacy by North Carolina's families and people with intellectual and other developmental disabilities (I/DD).
While at High Point Parks and Recreation, Paul became active with Special Olympics of North Carolina serving as a local program coordinator, board member, volunteer games director and coach. Her biggest impact with Special Olympics began in 1991 when she helped train the first class of Athletes for Outreach, a program allowing athletes to share their stories, voices and opinions. To this day, she continues to train Special Olympics’ athletes in that program, now known as Global Messengers, even traveling overseas with the athletes as they spread their message of life with disabilities and their participation in Special Olympics.
“I am shocked, humbled and honored to receive this prestigious award. I'm proud that my life's work has been rewarding not to only for me, but for so many friends and families across our State. There is still so much to be done,” Paul said.
Over the course of four decades, Paul has dedicated herself to improving the lives of people with intellectual disabilities, often including them in her own families’ holidays and activities. Paul says her work as an advocate is who she was meant to be and works diligently on expanding opportunities for people with intellectual disabilities to be their own advocates.
Chris Egan, executive director of NCCDD, said, “Our Council is honored to recognize Sherry Paul with the Jack B. Hefner Memorial Award for her work with the athletes involved with Special Olympics of North Carolina. Her long-term commitment to supporting athletes to share their stories fosters leadership development, and helps to educate and change attitudes locally and internationally about the interests and capabilities of individuals with intellectual and other developmental disabilities in a very engaging way.”
About the Jack B. Hefner Award: The award is named for Jack B. Hefner who served the State of North Carolina as a member of NCCDD from 1982 until his death in 1994. As a father to a son with intellectual disabilities, “Big Jack” was “willing to do whatever it takes” to enhance quality of life for North Carolinians affected by disability. His leadership inspired a generation of advocates and people with intellectual and other developmental disabilities (I/DD) to work forcefully for full inclusion of everyone, regardless of ability.
About the North Carolina Council on Developmental Disabilities: The North Carolina Council on Developmental Disabilities (NCCDD) works to assure that people with intellectual and other developmental disabilities (I/DD) and their families participate in the design of and have access to needed community services, individualized supports and other forms of assistance that promote self-determination, independence, productivity and inclusion in all areas of community life. Through its Five-Year Plan, the Council identifies and funds innovative projects and initiatives that promote the goals of the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act (DD Act) for all North Carolinians.