Ryan Bailey, 12, of Gladewater, is an outgoing, loving, charismatic, handsome youngster who happens to have Down syndrome. Ryan is looking forward to serving as ambassador for the Special Abilities Family Fun Event on Saturday in Kilgore.
Ryan will cut the ribbon officially opening the event and be in a booth to greet attendees. “I like to shake people’s hands and say ‘What’s your name?’” he said.
The event from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on South Commerce Street will offer a slew of activities for special needs children and adults and their families to promote fire safety education and understanding of special needs people.
Ryan said it is “cool” that Kilgore firefighters will put on the event for adults and kids. “Sometimes, firefighters are men and sometimes they are ladies,” he said.
Ryan plans to spread fire safety messages on SAFFE Day. “Part of fire safety is for kids not to be scared of firefighters,” he said, and they should remember, “to crawl under the smoke” if they are in a house on fire.
Ryan, who went to last year’s SAFFE day, said he liked taking a ride on a firetruck and getting to put out the fire in a burning house.
Firefighters race to the rescue in an emergency, Ryan said, recalling having read about firefighters getting a cat out of a tree.
Ryan is home-schooled by his stay-at-home mom, Colleen Bailey, although he takes speech at Gladewater Middle School. “I like reading, math and writing and speech,” he said.
Showing off his muscles, Ryan said he is a strong boy and likes football, swimming and taekwondo. Ryan helps prepare food that does not need to be cooked, such as peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. He does not use the stove or microwave.
“He is just the light of our life,” his mother said. “My husband and I are absolutely thrilled to be his parents. We learn a lot from him.”
Twitter: @Betty _TMT