Image Credit: Benjamin Rondel
Connie Dawson remembers the first time she met Bill Kirton. He was in the "Golden Circle" at the local elementary school.
"I remember thinking, 'Why are these kids in a separate class?' They even had to play by themselves. I thought they had so much to give and we could all learn from each other. I knew I had to do something." Connie became a volunteer while she was still in high school. Bill Kirton was one of the first people Community Living in Wingham helped.
Bill was born with Down syndrome and now, at fifty-seven, he has Alzheimer's. He's cut back on work, but for many years he did maintenance jobs at the Town Hall and washed all the police cruisers. He is perhaps most proud of his job every Sunday, at Wingham United Church, where he lights the candles.
Connie says there is a generation growing up who need to understand that people with disabilities don't just ask for help - they offer help. They get involved.
"Bill has taught me I should never judge quickly. He wants to be noticed. He wants to contribute. He always makes you smile. Bill doesn't just light candles at church. He lights up everybody's day."