Retired Georgia Ports Foreman continues spirit of service with nonprofit for disabled and physically challenged
After serving the Georgia Ports Authority for over 18 years, Kerry “KT” Terrell is turning the page on a new chapter.
But as the saying goes: retirement isn’t the end of the road, it’s the beginning of a new journey.
Terrell continues serving others through his nonprofit, The KT Team, which hosts disabled and physically challenged veterans and individuals on outdoor excursions.
“Now I’ll be able to focus on this even more and help it grow,” he said as GPA employees honored him with a retirement luncheon.
The KT Team was formed with Terrell’s longtime friend Jason Beard. The pair met 20 years ago on an outdoor camping trip.
He immediately took Beard under his wing, who has been paralyzed from the neck down since a diving accident as a young man.
Terrell would pick Beard up early and help load his specialized wheelchair and equipment as they journeyed to experience nature.
Their friendship and love of the outdoors soon grew to include others with disabilities, and the idea for the charity was born. Beard named it in honor of his new friend — KT.
The nonprofit’s official motto reads: “The Outdoors are for Everyone.”
Now seven years later, the group has shared the great outdoors with 47 people from 11 states – hunting, fishing, and enjoying nature together.
“Really, fellowship is the greatest part of the experience,” Beard shared. “It’s that feeling for them of having some form of normalcy return to their lives.”
The pair spoke at Georgia Ports during the company’s annual United Way Giving Campaign, to share ways the nonprofit has made a profound impact on others.
GPA employees who donate to United Way can choose their support to go to the Community Fund, which directly impacts more than 80 programs in more than 50 agencies in the region.
Employees can also designate toward a specific nonprofit of their choosing, such as The KT Team, to make a difference in their own communities.
“None of us know what the future holds, and in the drop of a pin our lives could change,” said Eli Vandiver, Georgia Ports Assistant Manager of Employee Relations & HR Technologies, and a lead in the port’s United Way campaign.
“It’s because of your generosity, others can feel secure they have somewhere to turn to when life’s challenges arise,” he said.
Georgia Ports is proud to have donated its largest sum to United Way just last year, at more than $500,000 in donations.
Vandiver says the GPA is on track for another sizable donation again this year, a reflection of the port’s core values which include community, integrity, and respect.
For The KT Team, Terrell and Beard said they are proud to see the support from Terrell’s friends in Crane Operations, whose generosity gives hope to those who might have thought their days of adventure were over.
It’s a humble feeling, Terrell said, one he is proud to share.
“We knew we were being called to a greater purpose. We developed something special, and we knew we needed to share it,” he added.