Down Syndrome individuals are looking for a few Good Buddies

Whitney Hess is on a quest to sign people up for this years buddy walk to help raise money but more importantly awareness about down syndrome.

"Don't quit - you are the hero."

Byron Smith is his brother's hero.

Not only has he overcome many obstacles, he's been a valued worker at the Panama City News Herald for nearly twenty years.

"He's far exceeded all the expectations that we had for him whenever he was first born to starting school and even today he just amazes me," says brother Britt Smith"

Byron was last year's buddy walk ambassador. That's how his brother got involved.

Britt Smith says, "I think the buddy walk is a great way for people of the community to come out and meet people with down syndrome and learn more about the contributions they make to our community."

Britt Smith is the principal of Margaret K. Lewis school in Panama City.

He says Byron was his inspiration for wanting to help others who face similar challenges.

"Byron is the reason I took on the principalship at MKL. My hope and dream was that I could provide for others what people who came before me did for him."

Byron has a message of his own.

"Do your work; always do your best."

Whitney is this year's ambassador.

Her response to being chosen.

"I am so honored."

Rutherford High school student Tasha Duong is recruiting
other students to take part.

"Students come help with registration or anything else we need."

She says her brother Tristan has taught her a lot about life.

"Whenever I have too much work to do I come to Tristan and he's always there for me ."

Britt Smith says, "When I look at all they do, not just my brother Byron, but I look at the students in my school -- what I see is people who've given so much more and they're helping to teach people about life and the importance of life."

The Buddy Walk is this Saturday October 20th at Aaron Bessant Park.

Registration is 9 a.m.; the walk begins at 10.

8195 Front Beach Road Panama City Beach, FL 32407 Station: 850-234-7777 News: 850-230-5221 Fax: 850-233-6647
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