In February 2019, Durham Region gears up to host the Ontario Parasport Games, where 360 athletes in 11 different sports compete at 10 locations across the region for guts and glory. These Games celebrate people who compete in wheelchair sporting events and also cater to visually-impaired sporting heroes.
Don Terry is the man behind the scenes making it all happen, working round the clock to ensure everything goes smoothly. He serves as co-Chair of the Organizing Committee.
Terry is Chairman of the Games, which flow through Sports Durham. “We’re inspired with these athletes. Parasport gives them the spotlight to shine, goals to aim for, and the opportunity to aim for excellence. It’s life at its best, and these athletes do not allow their different physical abilities to hold them back. They train hard, strive for success, and give it their all. They inspire us with the motivation to beat all odds,” Terry said in an exclusive interview with the Millionaire Mindset magazine.
Sports Durham is part of the tourism agenda at Durham Region, and Terry serves as a volunteer, having retired, after working for 33 years at Ontario Power Generation (OPG), serving as Director of Public Affairs. Now, at 60 years of age, he said he enjoys giving back to the community.
In the Durham Region, Windreach Farm and Grandview Kids cater for the differently-abled residents of Durham, as the region works hard to make life enjoyable for people of all abilities. “These athletes face so many barriers and challenges, yet they overcome and aim for achievements of greatness. It’s really a wonderful thing to witness,” Terry said.
Growing up and living in Ajax, Terry played sports all his life, both as player and coach. “I was involved in all kinds of sports, football, basketball, hockey – everything. Eventually, I founded and launched Sports Durham, which is now part of the Tourism arm of the region,” he said.
Now also moonlighting as a professor of Public Relations and Social Media at Durham College, the affable, pleasant Terry dedicates his days to showcasing Durham Region as a place of play, recreation, and leisure, a homegrown boy who grew up to lead his community to enjoy the perfect Canadian lifestyle.
“I grew up in a family in Ajax that shared with people easily, with a lot of love and passion. We always shared what we had with anybody. That’s the kind of Canada I grew up in, and today it’s wonderful to see how diverse and open Ajax is as a town,” Terry said.
Ajax ranks as the most diverse town in Canada, and Terry said that it “is enriched with its multiculturalism. I celebrate it all the time”.
He is keenly looking forward to the opening ceremony of the Ontario Parasport Games at the Abilities Center in Whitby. The games run from February 8th to 10th, 2019. “We expect an economic beneficial value to the Region of half a million dollars from these Games being hosted here,” he said, noting that Durham is fast developing into a strong economic hub in Ontario.
Terry is a decorated Canadian citizen, awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Award in 2012 for community service of excellence. He’s also awarded Big Brother of the Year in 2012.
His family owns a dairy farm near Trenton, Ontario, where his parents had grown up before moving to Ajax. The family still owns the farm. “I saw Ajax and Durham Region grow from a small town farming community to a big metropolitan center. It’s great to look back and consider where we grew from, to where we are at today. I believe Durham’s future is bright and is accelerating quickly. For such growth to be positive and bring maximum benefit to residents, it takes not only political leadership but also community leadership. There is a lot we could do as private citizens to make a difference,” Terry said, clearly living that mantra with dedication, effort, and commitment.
Apart from his laudable leadership in sports, diversity, and regional tourism, Terry also served as Project Manager for the Durham Ideas Summit, an innovation community forum that launched the process to open a massive Innovation Hub in Durham region.
With such leadership as Terry brings as its Organizing Committee co-Chair, the 2019 Ontario Parasport Games promises to be a resounding success story.