“Jose! Jose! No way Jose!" Lined up on the playground, 500 elementary students chanted their support for Jose as he propelled his very own Rifton mobile stander across the platform at Mayflower Elementary. Then down the long ramp he went to the playground surrounded quickly by his friends, family, the Monrovia mayor, police officers and firemen (and many cameras). What a day!
A bright and communicative eight-year old boy, Jose spends a good deal of his day in a wheelchair. He has cerebral palsy. In therapy he used (and loved) the mobile stander, but he didn’t have one of his own – and he really needed one.
Several months ago Jose met Ruano, the school’s resource officer, and told him he wanted to be a policeman someday. Jose won Officer Ruano’s heart. Officer Ruano started spreading the word and collecting donations toward the purchase of a large mobile stander for Jose – in “police blue” of course. In contact with Officer Ruano over the following months, even I felt the anticipation mount as the donations stacked up.
Then, through a happy circumstance of good timing (I was in California for a series of inservices), I happened to be there for the big moment. What a privilege!
After the introductions and speeches Joshua (Jose’s best buddy) presented the mobile stander. Jose got right in and took off. Tears of joy and ecstatic children all mixed together!
In addition to seeing Jose so happy, upright and interacting with his peers in the mobile stander, I also witnessed the beauty of a community rallying around a child. And Jose! Jose! No way Jose! still reverberates in my mind and heart.
Jose will continue to face challenges in life, but I know he’ll tackle them just as he did the 30-foot entrance ramp leading back into the school. Watch this local news clip to see what I mean!
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