Charlotte Man Named “Belk Hometown Hero” for Work with Adults with Disabilities

CHARLOTTE, NC — A Charlotte man is this year’s Belk Hometown Hero. Dick Sesler won this year’s contest after being nominated for his work helping adults with developmental disabilities. Now Sesler says dozens of people will be able to attend his Camp Blue Skies free of charge.

“Wherever there are blue skies we can go,” says Sesler.

Dick Sesler founded Camp Blue Skies 10 years ago. They rent out camp locations in the fall and spring when they’re typically dormant. Each year roughly 250 adults with disabilities get to go fishing, take a hike, play music, do the zip line, and get life skills.

“One is nutrition,” says Sesler. “The importance of portion control and healthy food. And the other is having to do with the importance of daily exercise.”

The camp’s inspiration is Sesler’s son, Brett. “At camp they call him the mayor,” he says.

“After graduating from high school, if you have special needs, where would you go?” says Brett.

Sesler also saw the camp as an answer to a bigger problem. A lack of resources for aging people with disabilities.

“When you turn 21, everything just goes away for somebody with a developmental disability,” says Sesler.

Belk is rewarding Sesler with $25,000, money that will expand their programs.

“I was just thrilled. Thrilled for mostly our camp and our ability to take the prize money and help support scholarships for our campers. It’s a huge gift for not only the campers, but their caregivers too,” says Sesler. “Opening day we also get to see the caregivers who now get a week of well-deserved respite. A lot of smiles on their faces.”

Sesler will be honored on the field during the Belk Bowl on New Year’s Eve.