FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, October 21, 2013
County Employee Praised For Role As Mentor And Coach
Albany County is fortunate in that the people who live and work in the community often
contribute in various ways to helping others. One such person is Tara O’Keefe, a
Housing Specialist with the County Department of Mental Health who is responsible for developing, maintaining and promoting mental health housing opportunities for peoplein the county. She has served in this role since 2008 and also ensures that the highestneed individuals have access to those resources.In addition to her position with the county,
has served as the head coach of the
Shaker High School girls’ varsity soccer team
since 2010. The team recently completedits season and finished with an 8-5-3 record. The team begins Sectional play next week.On October 16
, the team held a ceremony a halftime to honor the seniors on the teamand the highlight of the ceremony was the ovation for one particular player, GiannaMacPhee.
Thanks in part to O’Keefe and her team, Gianna MacPhee
was able to jointhe team four years ago and in doing so broke down the barriers that youngsters with
special needs face. Born with Down’s Syndrome, MacPhee is the first student with
special needs to participate in a sport at Shaker High School.Shaker went on to win 5-0. MacPhee started the game and helped cheer her team on tovictory in the last home game for the seniors on the team. Her achievements may notshow up on the scorecard but her perseverance and selfless play have inspired her teammates and coach in many ways.
While at work, Tara has demonstrated daily her dedication to improving the lives of
people facing adversity,”
said Albany County Executive Daniel P.
McCoy. “She takes
that same dedication to the practice field where she has proven to be a great coach andmentor for the
team at Shaker. We’re proud of her for her work here and as a coach.”
“It has been great coaching Gianna and the team,”
What I do as a coachis an extension of my job, helping others to achieve. She has shown me that sports ismore than wins and losses and if we work together we can bring out the best in