PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The longtime CEO of Special Olympics Rhode Island will be stepping down this summer.
Dennis DeJesus, who’s led the organization for 12 years, will retire effective July 1.
“Choosing to retire is an exceedingly difficult decision to make, but I think now is the right time to step aside,” DeJesus said. “I’m honored to have been part of the Special Olympics movement and have been truly blessed in my life by all who have enriched it in so many ways.”
Dejesus described his role as CEO as “an incredible honor.” He said the driving motivation behind his love for Special Olympics has always been the athletes.
“I know that I can’t name everyone, but the opportunity to get to know so many of our athletes really helped me through the rough spots and kept me focused on the work that made a difference in their lives and so many more,” he said.
Staci Kolb, chair of Special Olympic Rhode Island’s Board of Directors, said DeJesus will be greatly missed.
“Dennis has touched countless lives over the past 12 years in his tireless fight to build more inclusive communities and making sure our athletes were accepted and respected,” Kolb said. “I speak for everyone whose life has been touched by him and Special Olympics Rhode Island in thanking Dennis for the exceptional work he has done to grow Special Olympics Rhode Island into the organization it is today.”
“As difficult as it will be to replace Dennis, the Special Olympics Rhode Island Board of Directors will work tirelessly to secure a replacement and we are confident that we can identify a leader who will continue the momentum he has established during his successful tenure,” she continued.
It’s unclear when Special Olympics Rhode Island will begin searching for DeJesus’ successor.