Year Honored: 

John Paul Harbison

Our story began on Easter Sunday, 2002, when in an instant our lives would be changed forever.

During an family Easter celebration at my brother's house, my then 1 ½ year old little boy drowned in very small backyard landscape pond, while we were rounding the kids up for an Easter egg hunt that was to happen in the front yard.

He somehow slipped out the back door, unbeknownst to every one of us present there that day. He was only missing for a handful of minutes, but for a child to drown and sustain brain injury only takes three minutes. So, although he survived the drowning accident, when given a 1% chance of living through the night, my son suffered a severe and global anoxic brain injury.

He required 24 hour care. He cannot walk, talk, eat, drink or move a muscle without our help. He has severe scoliosis, intractable seizures, cortical blindness, a feeding tube, a tracheal tube, chronic lung disease, and a myriad of other struggles and challenges from not being mobile. Through all of this, this brave young man continues to love his life, smile, belly laugh and respond to his environment.

He is truly a gift in our lives.