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Rick Jeffrey

From Richmond, VA, Rick Jeffrey has always had a connection to sports, playing both baseball and basketball at Douglas Freeman High School, and then basketball collegiately at Hampden-Sydney College. He achieved his bachelor’s degree in English in 1975 and continued his education at Virginia Commonwealth University to obtain his master’s in Education in 1980. Following college, Jeffrey would become a middle school and high school teacher, high school basketball coach, and high school and college basketball official. His true passion, however, was discovered when he joined Special Olympics Virginia. Over the next 36 years, Jeffrey would hold multiple roles within the organization, from Region Director to Director of Programs to Vice President of Sports, and ultimately President, a role he would hold for 22 years, making him the longest serving President in Special Olympics Virginia history. He served two terms as the Chair of the U.S. Special Olympics Sports Committee and three terms on the U.S. Special Olympics Leadership Committee. During his time, he supported key Special Olympics Virginia fundraising events such as the Polar Plunge in Virginia Beach, the Plane Pull at Dulles Airport, and the Virginia Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics. Through these events and many others, Jeffrey and Special Olympics Virginia were able to support 22,000 athletes annually on and off the playing field. Under his leadership, Special Olympics Virginia significantly increased the number of Special Olympics athletes, sport offerings and competition experiences in the Commonwealth. Additionally, he was instrumental in the implementation of inclusive programming in Virginia schools to help connect those with and without intellectual disabilities. His goal as President of Special Olympics Virginia was to improve people’s lives, give people opportunity, show what is possible, and create a more inclusive world all through the power of sports. Rick Jeffrey has proven to positively impact those around him and those involved with “the Special Olympics experience” earning him the 2024 Virginia Sports Hall of Fame Distinguished Virginian Award.

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