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Special athlete cares deeply about others

Brandon Tallent is a caring and polite young man who lives and works in south Charlotte.

Bob Bowler, Tallent's Special Olympics tennis and basketball coach, refers to him as a "nice young man," someone readers should know.

Tallent was born with hypotonia, a medical condition that results in low muscle tone and led to some physical delays in development. The condition can be helped through early intervention with physical and occupational therapy.

Tallent, 22, is well-known for his helpfulness in his Thornhill neighborhood. He often goes to neighbors to visit, help with chores and take care of pets.

He's like a son to neighbor Karen Davis, she said.

"He's never in a bad mood," Davis said. "He has kind things to say ... (and he has) positive energy."

Tallent lives with his father, Brian, a Duke Energy employee, and mother, Kim, a schoolteacher at a middle school in Lancaster, S.C.

It is obvious Brandon learned his friendliness, manners and direct way of interacting with people through Kim and Brian's diligent parenting.

Tallent works part-time at the Russell Tennis Center, where he cleans and fills the ice coolers, cuts the grass and keeps the courts clean.

Tallent is proud of his work. "They know I do a good job at their place," he said.

He also works part-time at Harris Teeter in the Stonecrest shopping center.

Tallent plays both tennis and basketball with teams from the Charlotte Special Olympics.

Tallent's kindness and attitude were on display when he went to New Orleans several years ago to help people recover from Hurricane Katrina.

Tallent lives at home; his brothers - one older, one younger - attend college. Tallent was educated in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, where he was fortunate to have teachers like Vicki Scott, whom Tallent now counts as a friend. Tallent has the physical coordination, strength and abilities to be a winner, a fact underscored by the Special Olympics Silver Medal his basketball team won in a recent competition in Nebraska.