Gatesville Man with Special Needs Has First Birthday Party
With all the negative headlines dominating the news and social media, it's easy to feel despair and lose faith in humanity. This story proves that there's plenty of good going around in our world - some of it right here in our backyard.
Royden Ogletree with our partners at News 10 shared the story of 30-year-old Chris Barrington - a local man with special needs who functions on the level of a 6-year-old.
Chris' father was incapacitated with late stage leaukemia, and Chris was found wandering alone near the Gatesville Sheriff's Department. He had no immediate family members, but remembered the name of Michelle Girard - a Gatesville Junior High teacher who worked with Chris for four years.
When Chris' father passed away on August 1, Michelle asked what would happen to him. When authorities said he'd likely be committed to an institution, Michelle said, "Not on my watch, he's not."
Michelle is currently in the process of becoming Chris' guardian.
As if that wasn't wonderful enough, Chris was recently treated to his first birthday celebration.
“He's never had a birthday present, a birthday party, he's never had Christmas, thanksgiving, nothing,” Michelle told News 10. “So this year is going to be full of firsts.”
Michelle and JMB Fishing teamed up to treat Chris to a party featuring a boat ride and fishing trip on Lake Waco. (By the way, I love the slogan on one of the JMB boats: "Put down the remote and come get in the boat.")
“You know there are so many things that kids want to do,” JMB Fishing owner Jimmy Bennet told News 10. “They want to go to Disney. I have one that wants to go to Hawaii on a shark fishing trip. Chris is happy to come out on Lake Waco and ride around on a boat. That’s all he wants to do.”
It looks like Chris got plenty of gifts for his birthday, but nothing can match the love and generosity of Michell taking him in and making him part of her family. So many of our teachers have lifelong impacts on their students, but this takes the (birthday) cake.
Thanks to News 10 for sharing this story, and thanks to Michell and Chris for reminding us that there's still so much love and kindness in this world.