Kiricoples honored for commitment, advocacy

Published 12:12 am Friday, October 28, 2011

Dave Richard (right), executive director of The Arc of North Carolina, presents the Deborah Greenblatt Award to Chris Kiricoples, chief executive officer of Beaufort County Developmental Center. (Submitted Photo)

Chris Kiricoples, chief executive officer of Beaufort County Developmental Center, is the recipient of the 2011 Deborah Greenblatt Award.

The award, presented by The Arc of North Carolina, recognizes an individual or organization that has contributed, in a distinguished manner, to the promotion of rights of and/or services to North Carolinians with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The award honors the life of Deborah Greenblatt, a warrior for justice. The winner of this award must have had an impact in his or her community or in the state. The Deborah Greenblatt Award is one of the highest honors given by The Arc of North Carolina.

In her letter nominating Kiricoples for the award, Sandra Buckman, executive director of The Arc of Beaufort County, describes Kiricoples as a “true professional and a man of genuine integrity. He is an advocate for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities that we all desire to emulate. He is a visionary that works hard so that people may be empowered to become self-advocates.”

Inez Dudley, president of The Arc of Beaufort County, said, “I have witnessed his heartfelt commitment to and advocacy of all disabilities reaching out and working in partnership with not only the individuals and their families, but a wide variety of community and state organizations. It is very important to him that all individuals and families are treated with dignity, respect, choices and true inclusion as he works to ensure that all are provided quality services.”

Other letters of support from individuals from throughout North Carolina echo the same sentiment.  Meg Moss, executive director of Lee County Industries, wrote in her letter of recommendation, “I have witnessed Chris’s passion for providing the best possible support for individuals with developmental and other disabilities. He has spent countless hours writing, meeting, advocating, coordinating, educating, and over all, speaking up for people who may not be able to speak for themselves.”

Mary Anna Newman, with Eastern Seals, UCP North Carolina and Virginia said, “He has a vision for the future of mental-health services, which includes choice, dignity and access.”

Alicia Camacho, with Durham Exchange Club Industries Inc. said, “His distinct sense of responsibility coupled with his compassion keep him driving the cause for what is just and proper; to provide people with opportunities to live and work in their communities.”

Dave Richard, executive director for The Arc of North Carolina, in presenting the award said, “Throughout North Carolina, Chris is known as a staunch advocate for people with I/DD. His leadership, both formal and informal, with the state’s two leading organizations on employment has helped North Carolina emerge as a recognized leader in employment for people with disabilities. Chris gives his time selflessly to organizations to improve the lives of people with I/DD but it is his personal attributes that make him such a credible and powerful leader. He not only believes in people first, he lives it. Letters of support all mention his personal integrity, his passion for the mission and his commitment to excellence.”

In accepting the award, Kiricoples said, “I could not be as active as I am statewide without the very capable support of my management team, who do an exceptional job maintaining the day-to-day operations of the center. I am most pleased that The Arc of North Carolina considers me a ‘justice warrior’ because the people who were in attendance are my heroes — they are the ones who endure and overcome the daily challenges.”

Kiricoples, employed as BCDC’s CEO in August 1997, administers a broad range of educational-, vocational- and residential-service deliveries and supports to children and adults with intellectual and other developmental disabilities.