Special Olympics Wake County athlete Judy Nutter is exceptional in her ability to recall specific dates. A friend from high school? She knows their birthdate – the day, month, and year. Her first day as an employee of Special Olympics North Carolina (SONC)? She can recall that too. This year, she will remember the dates of June 5-12 as some of her most memorable. Competing in bowling, Nutter will travel to Orlando, Florida, with Team SONC for the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games.
Employed by SONC as a part-time office assistant, Nutter is immersed in the Special Olympics movement daily, either at work or at bowling practice. She started competing in Special Olympics at the age of 10 in New York. Now, at 62 years old, she has not lost that competitive drive.
“I’ve got a natural curve,” said Nutter. “The only thing I don’t like about bowling is that I have to work to get that one pin on the one side, because I am righthanded bowler. I like bowling because it’s a fun sport.”
Of the many numbers Nutter keeps close track of, her bowling scores are always top of mind. 156 is her best score. In addition to bowling, Nutter has trained and competed in cycling through Special Olympics. The first time Nutter ever attended a state-level competition, her sport was cycling.
“I went to Ireland in 2003 for the Special Olympics World Summer Games,” said Nutter. “I participated in cycling. I got a second-place medal and fourth and sixth-place ribbons. I am happy to meet other athletes again in the United States in Orlando for the USA Games.”
Having experienced an event similar to this scale, Nutter has advised her fellow teammates to “just do your best.” For more than 50 years, she has learned what it means to compete, what it means to mentor and what it means to lift others up, an action she exercises every day at work at SONC.
“I’m an office assistant,” explained Nutter. “I do data entries, make copies and sort the mail. It’s the longest job I’ve ever had… I like the people I work with and I like meeting new people.”
Nutter has been employed with SONC since 1996. She says one of her favorite accomplishments is her establishment of weekly, office-wide walks. At 12:58 p.m. each Tuesday, Nutter recruits SONC staff members to walk a 1-mile loop in an effort to promote healthy living, one of Special Olympics’ primary focuses.
In 1984, Nutter moved to North Carolina at the age of 23 with her family. At the time, she knew no one. Nearly 40 years ago, Nutter began volunteering with Special Olympics to familiarize herself with her new community. Nearly 40 years later, Nutter is the first face guests see when entering the SONC office, ready to share her community with others.
She takes great pride in her medal count, especially the medal she earned in Ireland. She greatly anticipates adding even more in Orlando.