GANDER, N.L. – To have the support of his provincial peers humbles Joe Philpott.
The Gander resident was recently selected to receive this year’s Newfoundland and Labrador Special Olympics Volunteer of the Year award.
After nominations were put forward for the award – to be presented at the provincial Special Olympics AGM and awards night in St. John’s Oct. 12 – the province’s 16 Special Olympics clubs, which select the winner, chose Philpott.
“There are so many volunteers out there, putting in the hours with Special Olympics,” he said. “It’s not something you do for the recognition, there are so many deserving people out there, and for my comrades to select me, I can’t help but feel honoured.”
Philpott has been involved with Special Olympics for the past 13 years.
His involvement with the organization has been felt regionally and provincially.
Volunteering with the Gander Wings club, he is a past chair, and more recently finished up a four year stint as the chair of the regional leadership committee. He has also served as a coach and contributes other various roles within the organization.
His presence has been felt nationally as well. Along with being involved with five national games, Philpott was the driving force behind a knitted scarf campaign for the 2016 national winter Special Olympics in Corner Brook as welcoming gifts for athletes and parents. The campaign was a roaring success, bringing in 3,400 scarves from across the province, Canada and the United States.
But it’s his desire to volunteer, and to help out his son and others with an intellectual disability, that dives his passion for the Special Olympics.
And it hasn’t gone unnoticed.
Marg Byrd, chair of Gander Wings Special Olympics, said the club was more than happy to offer Philpott’s name for selection.
“Joe is dedicated and committed to the athletes and volunteers of Gander Wings. He has high moral values, treats everyone he encounters with respect, encourages sportsmanship, and shows no bias towards anyone. He inspires the athletes to do their very best, but to also have fun while competing,” Byrd said. “He can always be relied upon to help out at sport competitions, meetings, social functions and wherever else help is needed.
“His contributions to Gander Wings Special Olympics Club are invaluable and his efforts are, in part, why the club is successful.”