Below is a story from Best Buddies Indiana, it's a great story about a local teen whose father happens to be a member of our DADS group.
Here's some good news that makes a Dad proud. The article below has been submitted for publication in the Spring Newsletter of Best Buddies Indiana at the request of the Director, Sara Baldini. It is hoped that the attached photos will be published as well because they really tell the story better than the words. Feel free to share Brian's story with any "experts" who focus endlessly on your child's limitations. It is our hope that Brian will be able to project a very positive image of people with Down Syndrome to a large congregation every Sunday.
In January of this year, Brad Worrell, a 17 year-old Junior at Carmel High School and a member of the CHS Cross Country Team, became a Peer Buddy for Brian von Eiff, a 16 year-old Freshman at CHS who has Down Syndrome. Brian has also been active in sports at Clay Middle School, where he ran track and served as Student Manager of the 7th grade baseball team, and in the Carmel Dads' Club Special Sports Program and the Allisonville Challenger Baseball League. Both Brad and Brian are also active in their parish, Our Lady of Mount Carmel---Brad in an elected leadership position in the parish chapter of the Knights of the Holy Temple and in the high school youth program known as Antioch; Brian in delivering Thanksgiving and Christmas food and gifts to the needy and helping serve meals at The Little Sisters of the Poor.
Brad and Brian hit it off from the start and quickly became truly "Best Buddies." They eat lunch together every other day at school, attend the Antioch sessions together every Sunday evening after Mass, and Brad has served as mentor and "Guardian Angel" for Brian at two parish and diocesan weekend retreats. Brad has gone way beyond the minimum requirements for participation in the Best Buddies program and Brian has enthusiastically responded, doing better in school, making more friends and communicating more verbally. But the smile evident on their faces in the accompanying photo is all about the camaraderie of the Knights.
Since 1999, the Knights of the Holy Temple (known locally as Knights of Our Lady or KOOL), a fraternity of Catholic young men of high school age, has been active in a half dozen parishes mostly in the Diocese of Lafayette in Indiana. The group provides an opportunity for its members to contribute to the life of their parishes in a meaningful manner and affords young men the opportunity to become more deeply knowledgeable and involved in their Christian Faith, to develop Christian leadership and to provide an environment for prayer, Christian fellowship, vocational discernment and encouragement to live one's faith.
Perhaps the most visible activity of the Knights is serving at the altar for the two main Masses at OLMC every Sunday, 11:00 AM and 5:30 PM. It was at the 5:30 Mass every week that Brian watched Brad and decided he wanted to follow in Brad's footsteps. Brad had gotten to know Brian well through Best Buddies and was confident that Brian had what it takes to become a Knight. He consulted with the almost 30 brother Knights who unanimously agreed.
On March 25th, 2006, at a private Mass and ceremony at Our Lady of Mount Carmel, with his Best Buddy, Brad, as his sponsor, Brian was initiated into the Knights of the Holy Temple. Brian's smile says it all, and Brad, who was also celebrating his 17th birthday, had one to match. Brad will now begin Brian's training and soon Brian will be serving Mass alongside Brad and the other Knights every Sunday at 5:30. And judging from the comments and responses of the other Knights, Brian has been "adopted" by 30 additional Peer Buddies. Congratulations to Brad and Brian, two great Best Buddies! And a special thanks to the Knights of Our Lady!