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Letter to the Editor: Touchdown for Billy: A Community's Gift

Ridgewood Maroons youth football team allowed a Wyckoff boy with Down syndrome to score two touchdowns, fulfilling a dream of his.

To the Editor:

What can we say? Wow, what a weekend for our family the Buddy Walk and The TD for Billy. What a town and community! What a life lesson for our kids and the community. That is the gift of Billy. He came to us for a reason. Because of him, we have had the pleasure of meeting so many wonderful people and got to experience so many inspiring moments. Because of him, our family has been supported and embraced by the community. 

A special thanks to: Andy Wingfield, Keith Woetzel, Richie Ray, John Amodeo, Mark Hess, Frank Brantley, Roger Schnorrbusch, Jeff Kreagan and Dean Vellis for planting the seed, taking Billy under their wing and making this happen. The Coaches: Bags, Duffus, Grusser, Mirch. Billy's teammates and their parents. Mikey, his big brother and QB for life, coach Eric Knight for capturing a beautiful video of this special day, Michelle Begina, Andrew Basa for capturing beautiful photos, Mitch Baker for getting Billy #19 his first jersey; John Opremcak, our wonderful Wyckoff Raiders play-by-play announcer; the Ridgewood coaches, Dean Vellis, Tom Thurston and Jeff Kreagan; the Ridgewood parents and players, the referees.

Touchdown for Billy: A Community's Gift

Wish you were all there for the magic. On Sunday, Oct. 14, our 8-year-old son with Down syndrome, Billy was given a precious gift.

Billy participated as a running back for the 3rd Grade Wyckoff Raiders Pee Wee Football team in a game versus the Ridgewood Maroons.

The Ridgewood coaches and players allowed Billy to score two touchdowns in the game. 

We wish all of Bergen County could have seen the magic of the game. We wish everyone could have seen the beauty of compassion, the beauty of childhood innocence, of sportsmanship and most of all, the beauty of community spirit present at Memorial Field. We wish all could have seen the tears of joy and the smiles, oh the smiles!

Billy banners flew everywhere and "Billy, Billy!" chants were heard across the field.

Billy's face radiated pure joy, a contagious grin. His touchdown dance delighting the crowd. A heartfelt thank you to all of our friends, family, the Wyckoff Recreation director, all of the Wyckoff coaches, the Ridgewood coaches and parents and most of all to all of the boys — teammates and competitors for allowing our boy with special needs to smile, to be "one of the guys" and to participate on a team. 

Thank you all for allowing our small community of Wyckoff/Ridgewood to see the world in a perfect light, just as our son Billy sees the world all the time.

Beautiful.

The special moment for our family showed us all that is good in this world.

Billy is in good hands. 

Love,
The Hourihan's
Jim, Christine, Mikey, Billy and Tommy

Have a question or news tip? Contact editor James Kleimann at James.Kleimann@patch.com, or find us on Facebook and Twitter. For news straight to your inbox every morning, sign up for our daily newsletter.

Doug Trainor October 17, 2012 at 04:00 PM
Kudos to both the young Sportsmen on that field, and to the older Sportsmen that made it happen for Billy.
Rene October 17, 2012 at 04:59 PM
Well done Wycoff. Best of Luck to this youngster. Great story.
Rene October 17, 2012 at 05:01 PM
Also Great job by Ridgewood. Sorry I did not mention that before. Great story all around.

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