Dunmorean of the Month: Tommy Williams

Dunmorean of the Month - Tommy WilliamsBy Emily Fedor

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately one in 700 babies in the United States is born with Down Syndrome. That’s about 6,000 each year.

In honor of March 21 being World Down Syndrome Day, the Dunmorean is proud to recognize one of the borough’s youngest residents as this month’s “Dunmorean of the Month.”

Tommy Williams is one year old. Come July 19, that number will change to two.

His parents, Julie and Mark, say he’s just like any other toddler. He loves to play catch, crawl around the house and, of course, play with his big brother Alex and big sister Kelcey.

“He’s full of life. He loves to play and laugh,” his mom Julie said.

The only thing that’s a little different about Tommy is that he was born with an extra chromosome.

The Williams first learned of the diagnosis from an ultrasound performed when Julie was 20 weeks pregnant. The scan showed three soft markers or possible indicators that Tommy could have Down Syndrome.

And months later when Tommy was born, that possibility turned out to be a reality. Doctors told Julie and Mark their new baby boy did in fact have Down Syndrome specifically, Trisomy 21, which is the most common type of Down Syndrome.

As you may know, people who have Down Syndrome may look and learn a little differently, but that doesn’t mean Tommy or others who have the condition can’t live life to the fullest.

Every week, Tommy spends hours in therapy to ensure that. He’s been going through both physical and occupational therapy sessions since he was just a few months old. And now that he’s a little older and starting to use his vocal chords, he’ll soon be starting speech therapy too.

As for how long those sessions will last, well, that’s all up to Tommy.

“Therapists say it’s all up to what Tommy does. Every kid is different. They don’t go at the same pace,” said Julie. “So it’s up to him. We’ll just see what he does.”

So everyone can see what Tommy’s doing, Julie Williams decided to create a Facebook page called “Tommy’s Troopers.”

“So many people wanted to see Tommy and wanted to follow him,” she said. “So I thought, why don’t I just make a page? That way anyone who wants to follow Tommy can just go to this page.”

Dunmorean of the Month - Williams Family

The Williams Family is shown here sporting their “Down with Tommy Shirts” outside the borough building. From left, Julie, Tommy, Kelcey, Mark and Alex Williams.

On the Tommy’s Troopers page, Julie posts milestones that Tommy has reached, such as his first words: “boo” and “hi.” She also shares details for fundraisers and events aiming to raise awareness for her son’s condition, as well as information from “Nothing Down” a non-profit organization for which Tommy is an ambassador.

The community of Bucktown always rallies around its own, and this little guy is no exception. To show that Dunmore is down with Tommy, borough officials even went as far as proclaiming October 20 as “Tommy Williams Down Syndrome Awareness Day” this past fall.

According to a report from the TImes Tribune, council President Michael McHale said, “It’s rare that we as council are without words, but we couldn’t be more happy and more proud of this fellow Dunmorean.”

“Dunmore is just so supportive of him,” said Julie. “I run into people and they’ll say “Hi Tommy,” and I don’t know who they are. People just know him, and I’m glad Dunmore is so supportive of all kids in our area.”

Julie says she wants people to know one thing about her son’s condition, and that is despite how scary the condition may seem, it’s really not scary at all.

“There’s nothing scary about Down Syndrome. When I was pregnant and found out, it was scary for me,” said Julie, “but Tommy is no different than my other two children. He’s so lovable, and he’s just a normal little kid.”

For more information about Down Syndrome, feel free to visit NothingDown.org.

“Joe for Jude” Set for April 22nd

Jog for Jude

At the kickoff meeting in February for the fourth annual “Jog for Jude 2018”, the Jude Zayac Foundation presented a check for $35,000 to the St. Joseph’s Center Baby Pantry.  “Jog for Jude” in memory of Jude Zayac raises funds to fight SIDS and to enrich the lives of children in our community.

To participate in the event on Sunday, April 22, at the Dunmore Community Center go to RunSignUp.com/JogForJude.

Voyager Video Earns American Advertising Award

Voyager Video (Lindsay Barrasse)

Lindsay Barrasse, a native of Dunmore and half of the husband-and-wife team of Voyager Video, is shown with the Silver award they earned at the American Advertising Awards.

Voyager Video, a husband and wife video production team located in Dunmore, took home Silver at The American Advertising Awards for their work for the 2017 ScrantonMade’s Arts On The Square internet marketing campaign.

Lindsay Barrasse of Voyager is a Dunmore native who has worked in film and video across the United States. Her husband Dave is the other half of the creative team.

The award-winning campaign focused on Arts On The Square economical impact it makes on the area, bringing vendors and shoppers from all over to our area. Arts On The Square is an annual arts festival held in in downtown Scranton, wrapping around the courthouse square with over 100 vendors, a stage of talented local musicians, performing arts as well as children’s activities. This year the event is scheduled for August 4, 2018 from noon to 8 p.m.

The American Advertising Awards is the advertising industry’s largest and most representative competition. With three stages of competition beginning at the local level, the American Advertising Awards recognize and rewards for outstanding creative in the art of advertising.

The American Advertising Awards select the most creative entries in each category which are determined by a scoring process in which a panel of judges evaluates all creative dimensions of every entry. This year judging took place in Rochester, NY. Five insightful creatives from the Rochester area gathered to determine the best of the best. From print to web to interactive media, the judges took their time discussing the creativity and direction of each piece, ultimately deciding on the winners.

This year there was no Gold awarded in that category of Internet Marketing Campaign.

Conducted annually by the American Advertising Federation (AAF), the local American Advertising Awards is the first of a three-tier, national competition. Concurrently, all across the country, local entrants vie for recognition as the very best in their markets. This year the AAF of NEPA held the awards at the Radisson Lackawanna Station Hotel Saturday, March 3.