When Mitzi Proffitt learned of the Parent to Parent IMPACT Award, the agency's Southeast Georgia coordinator immediately thought of Don Garrick.
The Bulloch County teacher, who helps orthopedically impaired students and teaches adaptive physical education to challenged students throughout the school system, is quite deserving of the award, she said.
"My son Joshua and I nominated Don Garrick ," she said. "We secretly asked people to give us their thoughts on how Mr. Garrick had impacted their life. He has done so much, for so many years, for the kids with special needs in this county. He totally deserves it."
Parent to Parent is an organization that helps families of special needs citizens from "0 to age 26," she said. The agency helps with medical and educational issues and is a "hub" for parents seeking support. The IMPACT Award is aimed at individuals who dedicate their lives to helping special needs people.
Garrick "is really good with kids," Proffitt said. "I knew he was a good nominee because he makes an impact."
Garrick takes time to help special needs students learn, have a good time at school, and experience every aspect of life possible, she said. He travels from school to school to help offer special needs students every option and opportunity to make their lives and education as pleasant and productive as possible.
Garrick is very modest and "works behind the scenes," never asking for recognition or special consideration for doing his job, she said.
Garrick was surprised when Proffitt told him he had been selected as a finalist for the state award. "Of course, I'm just extremely humbled," he said."I've been very fortunate to work with a lot of wonderful kids. I believe I learned more from them than they learned from me."
Proffitt said citizens can vote for Garrick on the Parent to Parent website (www.p2pga.org.)
There is also a video on the website where voters can learn more about Garrick, she said. Voting ends April 22.
Holli Deal Bragg may be reached at 912-489-9414.