Special Olympics Florida announced that David Haines of Pinellas County has been inducted into its Hall of Fame.
“David is a selfless leader who inspires our athletes – and everyone he meets – to strive to reach new heights,” said President and CEO of Special Olympics Florida, Sherry Wheelock. “We are honored to recognize his decades of service with this award.”
During his 17 years as the Pinellas County Director for Special Olympics Florida, Haines has pioneered an “athlete-first” model which has led the way for other county programs across the state. His forward-thinking approach embraces new ways of growing Special Olympics Florida and reaching more people with intellectual disabilities.
Haines helped introduce new sports and opportunities to the Pinellas County program including the Young Athletes, Athlete Leadership, and Healthy Athletes programs. During his tenure, he has helped increase athlete participation by 74%, the number of coaches by 119%, and significantly increased the number of adult athletes.
David’s impact goes well beyond statistics; he has personally invested in the lives of numerous athletes, families, volunteers, coaches, and staff. He is an active listener and seeks to build a friendship with each athlete he encounters.
Additionally, the Pinellas County Schools ESE Department has named a scholarship for students interested in pursuing a career in special education and are active volunteers for Special Olympics in his honor.
The Hall of Fame is the highest honor Special Olympics Florida bestows upon an individual or entity. This award is given to an athlete, volunteer, staff member, organization, or corporation that has made substantial contributions to the lives of people with intellectual disabilities through Special Olympics. The awardees must show significant involvement for at least ten years.
David Haines was presented the award during the opening ceremony of the Special Olympics Florida Area Six Summer Games on Saturday, March 4, 2017, at 10:00 a.m. The games took place at Lakewood High School, 1400 54th Avenue S., St. Petersburg, FL.