Special Olympians, Central High, have a part of Gene Brown's heart
Then he graduated from college.
Brown was recently named a sales representative for Surgi-Care, the Massachusetts-based distributor of surgical and sports medicine supplies and equipment.
"When I graduated college, I was just a kid out of Manchester, I didn't know what I was going to do," Brown said. "I was doing some substitute teaching at the Beech Street School"
A family friend who was involved in medical sales suggested Surgi-Care. In November 2007, he began as an assistant in its sports medicine business, helping fit knee braces and other devices and teaching patients how to wear them.
He moved to a sales associate role.
"We're there to kind of oversee all of our equipment once it gets opened, we're kind of a second set of eyes for the tech handing the surgeon what he needs," Brown said. "Back when I was learning, it was basically just seeing everything, basically in the operating room non-stop, asking questions, learning from doctors."
Surgi-Care and manufacturers it represents also provided extensive training.
A lot of people taking on the assistant's role are former athletes, said Brown who fits into that category. He's not only an athlete, but an athlete who suffered a serious injury to his shoulder during his playing days.
The son of Manchester Memorial hall of famer Gene Brown, Geno Brown was a member of three state championship teams at Manchester High School Central and was a multiple all-state selection in football. He went on to play college ball at the University of Massachusetts, where he started an Internet book-trading business for students who didn't want to pay bookstore prices.
He credits the lessons of his athletics career with helping him stand out among other candidates for a major promotion.
"At Surgi-Care we always pride ourselves on our teamwork," Brown said. "It's dedication and constantly applying yourself like most athletes do." The self-described "kid from Manchester" hasn't forgotten his roots. As a high school freshman he began coaching Special Olympics swimmers. Later he and his family created a successful fundraising event for his younger brother Kyle, who was stricken with leukemia, but is now doing well.
He has taken a leadership role in the Little Green Football Club, which supports Central football. He helps run an annual Ugly Sweater Christmas Party which raised $15,000 for Make-a-Wish foundation last year.