Great Strides 2008
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Jim Harp: A Numbers Guy With Heart

Jim Harp’s commitment to finding a cure for CF began when he met his young friend Stephen Teagle in 1981.

In 1981, when Jim Harp—then a college senior—met a young high school freshman named Stephen Teagle at a Key Club International high school service conference, it was the start of a deep and enduring friendship. Although Harp did not realize it at the time, it also was the beginning of his lifelong commitment to finding a cure for cystic fibrosis.

“We just connected,” said Harp, who was immediately struck by 16-year-old Teagle’s positive disposition and incredible sense of humor, despite the fact that he had CF. In the following years, Harp and Teagle became fast friends, and Harp soon became an active volunteer with the Louisiana Chapter—New Orleans Office. This year he celebrated his 25th anniversary on the chapter’s Board of Directors.    

To mark the anniversary and pay tribute to the memory of Teagle, who lost his battle with CF in 1996 at the age of 30, Harp established the Stephen Teagle Memorial Award for an outstanding volunteer. As he presented this year’s award to former New Orleans Saints quarterback Bobby Hebert, Harp said, “Stephen showed me how to live life … with grace, dignity and courage in the face of extreme adversity, yet without even a trace of self-pity or a hint of fear.”

Raiding the Rolodex

In his professional life, as executive vice president and CFO of Hornbeck Offshore, Harp oversees billions of dollars. But nearest to his heart are the dollars he raises for the CF Foundation. Chairing the chapter’s 37th AT&T Golf Classic, this year, Harp single-handedly raised more than $75,000 toward the $135,000 total.

Harp raided his corporate rolodex for names of execs to approach for donations. In an extensive letter-writing campaign, he challenged each of the past $1,000 corporate donors to match Hornbeck Offshore by at least doubling their sponsorship level over last year. Twelve sponsors did just that.

To dedicate so much time and energy to a single charity, Harp feels it must appeal to both the head and the heart. “As a numbers guy,” he said, “I know that nearly 90 percent of every dollar raised goes toward finding a cure.” As for his heart, Harp said simply, “Stephen blessed me with the rare privilege of sharing his life in a very special way. It’s an honor to carry on his fight today.”