James Larter was brimming with personality and all smiles, as usual, when he accepted the Dr Frank Hayden Award last week at the PEI Special Olympics award ceremonies. The award is for hard work and dedication to sport.

The 51-year old, from Montague, attended the annual banquet with friends Rhonda Fall and Colton Matheson and was surprised when he heard his name called during the presentations.

“I was very happy to get it, and I love that I won,” he said.

James’ excitement about any number of activities spills over into sports.

In past he has been a member of the soccer, golf and basketball teams and has also competed in track and field.

James said he doesn’t have a favourite sport. He just likes to get out there and do it. Being physically fit is important and so is gathering with friends new and old, he says.

No matter what he encounters during his busy days, James gets the task done with enthusiasm.

Whether it’s in the woodworking shop at Kingswood Centre, at Annear Trucking where he cleans and works on machinery, or feeding the goats and painting at Fancy’s Coffee Counter in Murray River, are all important jobs that James takes great pride in.

He says he enjoys the work, but he likes the pay even better.

The Dr. Frank Hayden Award is named in honour of Dr. Frank Hayden, who in the early 1960s, began searching for ways to establish a national sports program for individuals with an intellectual disability. His research eventually led to the development of the Special Olympics movement.

Special Olympics PEI has been in existence since 1982. Currently there are more than 350 registered athletes who participate in approximately 57 recreational and sport programs across the province. They are supported by more than 120 coaches and volunteers.

Caitlin McKenna of Cardigan received the Sport Volunteer of the Year Award.

Ms McKenna is a young volunteer with an amazing vision. She observes, listens and is respectful of everyone and a born leader, according to Special Olympics PEI staff and participants. She is encouraging and supportive of the athletes and is always looking for ways to improve things for them.

Dave Morrow, longtime coach originally from Souris, was also honoured at the banquet. He was named Male Coach of the Year. Mr Morrow started volunteering with the athletes before moving on to coach Five-pin bowling. He was recently named Head Coach of the Team PEI 2020 Five-pin Bowling team.

Two other eastern PEI residents; athlete Ellen McNearney, and coach Jamie Matheson were also among the nominees.

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