Today, I attended the funeral of a man in our church who had Down’s Syndrome. He was 67. Some of you may read this and think, “Lots of people have Down’s Syndrome, what is so special about this guy?” When you factor in that he was born in the 1950s in a rural area without the advancements of many places, you will find that the story of his life is one of a trailblazer.
Brent Powell was not satisfied to be left out or not do things everyone else did. His brothers went to school, and he asked why he could not. His parents were not willing to accept that’s how things were. These trailblazers were instrumental in the development of a place where those with special needs could learn. Brent also wanted to see the Special Olympics come to this area. His efforts were instrumental in making that happen.
It is easy to sit back and accept that things are a certain way, but it takes someone special – one with tenacity and persistence – to challenge the status quo and push until things change. Brent did that. I can only remember seeing him a few times, but I wish I would have known him. This man made it easy for those who spoke at his funeral. He blazed a trail and delivered a challenge to us all. Thank you, Powell family, for giving Brent all the love that could be given and allowing him to set precedents in our area. God bless you!