In November 2013, Danny Keefe was a six-year-old kindergartener in Mitchell Elementary School in Bridgewater, Massachusetts. He stood out in two ways: Because of childhood apraxia of speech (CAS) due to a serious brain hemorrhage, he speaks with difficulty, and because of personal preference, he wears a suit and tie to school everyday. His grandfather Richard Osterman said, “CAS has not kept Danny down. He keeps up with his siblings as well as a host of friends, both children and adults.” Danny is the official water coach for the Bridgewater Badgers Div. 5 Peewees, and Mr. Osterman said that on the sidelines Danny looks like a miniature Tom Landry, the late coach of the Dallas Cowboys. He also has many friends on the team, including 11-year-old quarterback Tommy Cooney, who was upset when he learned some kids were making fun of Tommy because of his difficulty in speaking. A fifth-grader at Williams Intermediate School, Tommy said, “He’s such a good person. He doesn’t let it bother him. He goes on with his day. He’s a six-year-old kid. We should all respect that.” Tommy decided to wear a suit to school to show his support of Danny on a day that Tommy decided to call “Danny Appreciation Day.” He told his teammates about the special day, and they all liked the idea. On 20 November 2013, more than 40 students wore suits to show their appreciation of Danny. In the Williams Intermediate School library, the suit-wearers cheered, “Danny, Danny.” Danny said, “This is the best day ever.” Danny’s mother, Jennifer Keefe, said that as a result of Danny Appreciation Day, “He feels so loved and protected.” Jimmy Peterson, age 11, said, “The coach calls us a band of brothers. He’s one of us.” Nicholas Lambert, age 10, said, “We’re all human and all the same. We’re all created equal.” Brett Jackson, age 10, said, “Whenever I see the big, huge smile on his face, it makes my day. He keeps his head high.” Danny’s older brother, Tim, who is on the football team, said, “Every day he comes home and says he doesn’t care what other people think of him. He only cares what he thinks of himself.” Danny’s mother, Jennifer, thanked the Badgers: “Look at what happened from one person. You all have this in you. You can pay it forward. If you ever have the opportunity to stick up for someone or be their friend, you should do that.” Danny’s father, Mark Keefe, said, “This is all because of you guys. It has nothing to do with the adults. It’s all about a group of fifth-grade kids.” These students wore suits for “Danny Appreciation Day”: Thatcher Abbassi, Aidan Brien, Nick Brown, Cade Chiocca, Connor Chiocca, Max Compton, Tommy Cooney, Chris DeSantis, Danny Doherty, Vinny Forziati, Matt Giurleo, Ben Hogg, Cameron Hogg, Chris Hogg, Josh Hogg, Nick Hogg, Brett Jackson, Andrew Johnson, Joseph Jones IV, Matt Keefe, Tim Keefe, Larry Kirlis, Bobby Ladue, Nicholas Lambert, Jacob Lawson, Nick Longo, Riley Manning, Jack Morgan, Ryan MacDermott, Devin O’Leary, Jimmy Peterson, Kyle Phillips, Jake Prisco, Jason Revil, Brendan Rosher, Brian Rosher, Brett Rosher, Raul Sanjay, Jacob Spear, David Usher, Riley Welch, Zack Whiting, and Liam Woods. Danny’s twin sister, Emily Keefe, also dressed up.
For Further Information: Rebecca Hyman, “Suited band of brothers stands up for unstoppable 6-year-old: ‘Danny Appreciation Day’ in Bridgewater honors kindergartner.” Enterprisenews.com. 21 November 2013
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