12/28/11 — Local Special Olympian face of P&G's January campaign

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Local Special Olympian face of P&G's January campaign

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on December 28, 2011 1:46 PM

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Special Olympics Wayne County athlete Jordan Wiggins, left, and his mom, Jenny, are pictured on the cover of a national Procter & Gamble coupon booklet being released in newspapers Jan. 1.

Fifteen-year-old Jordan Wiggins loves the Christmas season.

From his train ride on the Selma Polar Express to his family's annual viewing of "The Santa Clause" and "Home Alone" movies, avid parade-goers could have counted him riding in six area Christmas parades this year with his grandmother, Register of Deeds of Wayne County Lois Mooring.

But next month, he'll be recognized for being pictured on the cover of a national advertising campaign featuring him involved in his other love -- Special Olympics.

The ninth-grader from Rosewood has been part of Special Olympics Wayne County since he was 8 years old, participating in aquatics, athletics, bowling and basketball.

Jordan and his mom, Jenny, will be featured on the front of an insert for Procter & Gamble coupons that will be distributed in newspapers Jan. 1.

"The photo was taken last year in Cary, at an aquatics event," said Mrs. Wiggins.

Photographers representing Procter & Gamble were on hand, and she just remembers "being rushed off to get your makeup done, pick out your outfit," she said.

"They had a lot of families, people from all over," she said. "I remember there were a lot from Raleigh, athletes that came."

It was a surprise to get the call that she and her son's photo would grace the cover.

"Last year, Procter & Gamble actually chose a mother and daughter from Raleigh," she said. "It's very unusual that two athletes from the same state get called back year after year. So it's a big thing for North Carolina."

She was actually notified of the honor in August, but told to hold off on making it public. Earlier this month, her post about it on Facebook generated a lot of support.

"I wasn't really going to say anything," she admits now. "I was just going to see if anybody noticed.

"But they said we needed to advertise it so people will use the coupons."

The annual joint effort between Procter & Gamble and Special Olympics is a "big thing," Mrs. Wiggins said.

"The company has been a loyal supporter of Special Olympics for more than 30 years," she said. "For each coupon redeemed during January, Procter & Gamble will donate three cents to Special Olympics."

It's a program that has come to mean a lot to her family -- which also includes her husband, Matt, and son Seth, 10.

"His younger brother's always been involved in sports," Mrs. Wiggins said. "It's like (Jordan) didn't have the energy or understand how to do like mainstream sports. Special Olympics gave him the opportunity to participate in different sports that he's interested in, in what level he can participate, on an individual basis.

"He's made a lot of good friends and so have we as a family."

Being selected for the national advertising campaign means a lot, Mrs. Wiggins said, but admits the reality of it still hasn't quite sunk in.

"I'm just a very plain person, just kind of a country person. It's just weird," she said with a smile.

She anticipates it might be different for her son.

"I don't think he's grabbed the concept," she said. "He just grins about it. He remembers going and doing the photo shoot. It was a very fun thing.

"It's going to be priceless when I see his face when the booklet comes out."