Nicholas Rolfe: Caring for his Community.

Volunteer Recognition

Nicholas Rolfe has been an athlete with Special Olympics Alberta for over 25 years and carries his ambitious and caring spirit through his athletics into his passion for volunteering.

By Sarah Spisak

Chris and Sheila Rolfe look on proudly as Special Olympics Alberta CEO, Sue Gilchrist, pins the medal onto their son’s chest.

A small, confident smile comes across Nicholas’ face as he poses for pictures. He earned the 2022 Queen Elizabeth II’s Jubilee medal for his long-time commitment to athleticism and community volunteering and was among five recipients to receive the prestigious award.

Nicholas Rolfe has been an athlete with Special Olympics Alberta since the mid 1990s having started in soccer and then floor hockey.

“My favourite sport is floor hockey over soccer,” Nicholas says. “Mostly I’m in net. You don’t get as much play time if you’re out. I get to be in for at least half the game.”

In 2006, Nicholas and his floor hockey team got to represent Alberta in Newfoundland.

“Without Special Olympics, Nick wouldn’t have had that experience,” Sheila says. “It was quite a highlight.”

Representing Alberta in Newfoundland as well as meeting the late Joey Moss are two of Nicholas’ favourite memories with Special Olympics. But Nicholas says his biggest passion is volunteering within his community and helping people.

“Before Special Olympics, I was a volunteer at two places. One was at the Food Bank in China Town and at the same time, I was volunteering at the Zetter Centre on the southside. Maybe one day I’ll be able to go back, nothing is set in stone, but that’s my passion.” Nicholas says.

“He’s a go getter. If he sees someone that needs help, he’ll go right over there and help them,” Chris says.

We go shopping together, and the other day this gentleman was in the coolers, and he drops his stuff,” Chris recalls. “Nick was across the aisle, and he ran right over and helped him pick it all up. That’s the type of guy he is. He’s always helping others.”

When asked how it felt to receive the award, Nicholas said he was very grateful.

I am so grateful of getting it, especially in the name of the Queen. If you must know, I do want to take this to floor hockey so I can show it off,” Nicholas says proudly.

His advice to others within Special Olympics exemplifies his caring nature and humble attitude.

“Do your best, and be yourself. But most importantly, be true to yourself.”

Nicholas sits next to his aunt Cathy who came to see him receive the award. They’re at a long table sitting across from Chris and Sheila. He puts his arm around his aunt, and she lovingly smiles at him.

“I do want to say thanks to all the people that stuck with me,” Nicholas says. “My parents, friends, family and especially the people that I’ve played for over the years: the players, the coaches and management.”

He looks over to his mom.

“And especially my mother because she’s the one who gave birth to me. I really appreciate you bringing me into the world,” Nicholas says smiling. “And my father who has guided me.

“Also,” he adds, arm still around his aunt, “Not only does my aunty Cathy support me, but I have a really good relationship with my uncle and I want to give them my best wishes.”

Nicholas doesn’t know what his future holds, but he is eager to keep being a part of Special Olympics for as long as he can.

“I am getting a little old, and I don’t know how long I have left for floor hockey and other sporting events cause I am starting to get more down a little bit,” Nicholas says. “I don’t have a timeline, but until then, I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing.”