Mike Roland of Westminster has worked with...


Mike Roland of Westminster has worked with several organizations to provide recreational opportunities for people with disabilities in Carroll County.

Mr. Roland coaches the Hawks, a basketball team for people ages 15 to 72 with developmental disabilities. He also works with the 4-H horseback riding program for the disabled, where he leads horses, cleans rings and helps out as needed.

He is house manager for September Song, an annual production Athat benefits Carroll County residents with mental disabilities.

Organization's comments: Barbara Gundina, recreation supervisor for Carroll County, said, "Mike's the type of person where if you want something done, and you want it done well, you go to him first."

She said Mr. Roland has logged many volunteer hours doing audits and keeping books for recreation councils on his home computer.

"I've never not been able to pick up the phone and ask him to help," she said.

Ms. Gundina said Mr. Roland and his wife are "very tenacious," and they've been empowered by their determination that people with disabilities should have the same opportunities as everyone else.

Volunteer's comments: Mr. Roland's daughter, Megan, has a mental disability. He said he used to wonder, "Why can't she go to camp? Why can't she do arts and crafts?"

His answer was to help found Camp Hoot, to allow children with disabilities to participate in hiking and other activities that many take for granted.

"I just want them to have fun," he said.

This year, he said, his daughter will help the other children at the camp.

Mr. Roland said he has also involved Megan in the Hashawha/Bear Branch advisory council. Today, she will be serving ice cream at the Maple Sugaring Festival.

said coaching disabled basketball players is a matter of helping them reach whatever goal they set. The goal may be simply to make one shot in 10, he said, "but you ought to see their faces when they do it. It's wonderful."

One of the best things that ever happened to me," he said, was a day two years ago when one of his athletes won a gold medal, jumped off the podium and ran into his arms. A year later, his daughter won a medal and did the same thing.

"That's the reward I get," he said. "That's what I'm in it for."

Background: Mr. Roland, 49, is married to Peggy Roland, who also works for increased opportunities for people with disabilities. The couple have a son and a daughter.

Mr. Roland is active with the Hashawha/Bear Branch advisory council. He also judges public speaking contests for 4-H.

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