There were few dry eyes during the open forum portion of the Independent School District 834 Board meeting Thursday when they heard the story of a little hero from Stonebridge Elementary School.
Timmy Fultz was recognized by the board after David Beck of Afton read a letter from a Mahtomedi parent about the third grader’s act of kindness at a basketball tournament. The letter came from a mother of three children, one of whom, Caden, is a 7-year-old with Down’s syndrome.
She said in her letter that over the last weekend, her 10-year-old played at a girl’s basketball tournament at Mahtomedi Middle School. During the tournament, she and her son were playing basketball near an upper gym when another mom stopped to talk to her. Caden continued to play while she talked.
There were three boys she had noticed watching them earlier. While she chatted, Caden bounced a ball to them hoping they would play. One boy stood there and pretended not to noticed Caden and rolled his eyes. Caden bounced the ball again one of the boys kicked the ball down the hall and away from him while they laughed and ran the opposite direction.
“I was standing 10 feet from this all and could tell that Caden didn’t understand what just happened. His laughter and fun was then turned into confusion and sadness in both our hearts,” the woman writes. “I grabbed Caden’s hand and we went and got the ball. I decided to take him to a different location and play basketball again. Although Caden seemed unaffected, it was me who had tears falling during this time. My heart broke and my mind was confused by what had just taken place five minutes earlier. We continued to laugh and play but for some reason more tears of mine continued to fall.”
That’s when she noticed Fultz sitting on a chair and noticed that every time Caden laughed Fultz laughed and smiled and then came over to them while they were sitting on the floor playing. The letter-writer said Fultz started talking to Caden, who is non-verbal, and tried to get him to play ball.
“I didn’t explain to this sweet boy that minutes earlier some boys his age had kicked his ball away from him and now Caden may be wondering if he would do the same thing,” She writes.
Fultz just kept asking Caden if he like basketball and other “fun life-questions” while trying to get Caden to play a game with him.
“It was at that moment that he had stopped my tears and mended a piece of my heart, as a mom of a special needs child we stress out about how our kid’s life lessons may be a daily struggle with how others treat them. It is children like this boy that I am grateful and thankful for,” she writes.
During their conversation, the letter writer said Fultz told her that they have special kids in his school too, which let her know that the school staff is doing a great job in educating kids about special needs children.
“I’m not sure if Stonebridge has an award for having a big heart and amazing smile, but if you do, please give it to Timmy from Caden and let him know that moms and dads like me appreciate him and feel better knowing that there are boys like him out there,” she writes.
“On that day, Timmy was just being Timmy,” said Stonebridge Principal Derek Berg. “Timmy’s very modest and very humble. He just makes good choices and leads by example.”
“You’ve done us and Stonebridge proud,” board member Mike Ptacek told Timmy after the board asked him a few questions followed by applause.
Contact Avery Cropp at firstname.lastname@example.org