Former School of the Osage grads rally together to help a beloved classmate

1 year 1 month 10 hours ago Sunday, November 12 2017 Nov 12, 2017 Sunday, November 12, 2017 4:32:00 PM CST November 12, 2017 in News
By: Cameron La Fontaine, KOMU 8 Reporter
loading

KIRKSVILLE - Jamie Graham graduated School of the Osage in Lake Ozark in the mid-1970s. Since then, he's worked to advocate for people with disabilities all over Missouri. 

"Jamie was, for most of us, the first special education student that we had come in contact with," said former classmate of Jamie's, Michael Beale. 
Throughout high school, Jamie was a kind-hearted presence who loved every one of his classmates. He was never bullied or picked on for his special abilities, according to one former classmate, and he made sure that others weren't picked on either. 
Jamie now gets around his town of Kirksville riding his three-wheeled bike, and he's well known for it. 
"They tell me, 'Jamie you have a famous bicycle.' 'I said famous?' 'Yeah, it's driving all over Kirksville,'" Graham said. 
That's until one day in September when Graham's bike was stolen from outside of his home.
Confused and saddened by the robbery, Graham took to Facebook to voice his frustrations. 
"It's my independence my three wheel bike, it's my independence," he said. "It makes me be me."
Graham's Facebook posts about the incident caught the eyes of former OHS classmates Beale and Sandy Irwin-Washburn. Beale asked Jamie what he would think about trying to get OHS alumni to help pitch in for a new bike, since he could not afford one on his own.
"Jamie taught us a lot about acceptance and even love," Beale said. "I thought we owed it to him to help in anyway that we could."
Beale and Irwin-Washburn created a Facebook page and invited OHS alums and asked for anyone to give what they could, so they could put together a fund to get Graham a new bicycle. 
Jamie was ecstatic about how his friends were coming together to help him.
"They said 'Jamie we'll pay for it.' 'Really? You'll pay for it?' Wow, I did not expect that," he said.
In less than two weeks, the group raised nearly one thousand dollars to get Jamie a brand new bike, in his favorite color, yellow. The group used the rest of the money raised to get gifts for Jamie. 
A handful of OHS alums made the trip to Kirksville to deliver the bike and the presents in person. 
Graham himself felt humbled by the act of kindness.
"Why me? Well because they love me, that's why, but wow," he said. "It makes you speechless, makes you feel kind of funny."

For Beale personally, Jamie's effect on him came back around years later in his personal life. 

"My youngest daughter, Lauren, who's now 25, has autism," Beale said. "So, in a roundabout sort of way, Jamie taught me a long time ago that mentally disabled people, just because they're not like us doesn't mean they can't have a good life, and it doesn't mean they're not happy."
The visit in Kirksville was full of laughter and hugs and a very appreciative Jamie Graham, who now can ride around his town again on his bright yellow bicycle. Graham and his classmates may be 40 years removed from high school, but they never forgot the power of Graham's love and everything that he taught them. 
Graham told the Kirksville police, which hasn't had luck in tracking down his old bike, that he does not want to press charges if the perpetrator is ever found. 
"If they needed to do that, there must be good reason for it," Graham said. "They probably needed the bike more than I did."

More News

Grid
List
COLUMBIA - The former chief financial officer for Columbia Public Schools was sentenced Thursday to five years probation. Anna... More >>
27 minutes ago Thursday, December 13 2018 Dec 13, 2018 Thursday, December 13, 2018 6:25:00 PM CST December 13, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - A Jefferson City teen has been charged in connection with a November fatal shooting. Bruce Thomas... More >>
45 minutes ago Thursday, December 13 2018 Dec 13, 2018 Thursday, December 13, 2018 6:07:00 PM CST December 13, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Columbia police are investigating multiple reports of bomb threats made via email to businesses in the Columbia area,... More >>
3 hours ago Thursday, December 13 2018 Dec 13, 2018 Thursday, December 13, 2018 3:52:00 PM CST December 13, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Missouri Department of Transportation director Patrick McKenna met with the Columbia Chamber of Commerce Thursday to discuss the... More >>
3 hours ago Thursday, December 13 2018 Dec 13, 2018 Thursday, December 13, 2018 3:21:00 PM CST December 13, 2018 in Continuous News
WASHINGTON D.C. - Democrat Claire McCaskill had stern words for her soon-to-be former colleagues in the Senate in a farewell... More >>
3 hours ago Thursday, December 13 2018 Dec 13, 2018 Thursday, December 13, 2018 3:20:50 PM CST December 13, 2018 in News
(CNN) - Gun deaths in America have reached a record high. Nearly 40,000 people in the United States died... More >>
3 hours ago Thursday, December 13 2018 Dec 13, 2018 Thursday, December 13, 2018 3:09:10 PM CST December 13, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Missouri Department of Transportation director Patrick McKenna met with the Columbia Chamber of Commerce Thursday to discuss the... More >>
3 hours ago Thursday, December 13 2018 Dec 13, 2018 Thursday, December 13, 2018 3:09:00 PM CST December 13, 2018 in News
FULTON - A warehouse complex that has been standing in Fulton, with some parts dating back to the 19th century,... More >>
4 hours ago Thursday, December 13 2018 Dec 13, 2018 Thursday, December 13, 2018 2:45:00 PM CST December 13, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Community members have differing emotions after two fatal shootings in Jefferson City in less than a week.... More >>
4 hours ago Thursday, December 13 2018 Dec 13, 2018 Thursday, December 13, 2018 2:25:00 PM CST December 13, 2018 in Top Stories
JEFFERSON CITY - A Columbia man was sentenced for his role in a chid sex trafficking ring, the U.S. District... More >>
4 hours ago Thursday, December 13 2018 Dec 13, 2018 Thursday, December 13, 2018 2:20:00 PM CST December 13, 2018 in News
HUNTSVILLE - A woman pleaded guilty Wednesday to helping her husband commit child sex crimes in 2015 and 2016, nearly... More >>
6 hours ago Thursday, December 13 2018 Dec 13, 2018 Thursday, December 13, 2018 12:44:34 PM CST December 13, 2018 in News
WASHINGTON (AP) — After months of debate and negotiation, Congress voted final approval Wednesday to a massive farm bill that... More >>
8 hours ago Thursday, December 13 2018 Dec 13, 2018 Thursday, December 13, 2018 9:57:00 AM CST December 13, 2018 in News
MEXICO - The Mexico Public Safety Department arrested a man in connection to a car theft and a home burglary... More >>
10 hours ago Thursday, December 13 2018 Dec 13, 2018 Thursday, December 13, 2018 8:33:00 AM CST December 13, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - MoDOT Director Patrick McKenna will talk to the Columbia Chamber of Commerce Thursday about future plans for Missouri... More >>
11 hours ago Thursday, December 13 2018 Dec 13, 2018 Thursday, December 13, 2018 7:36:00 AM CST December 13, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Police said they are investigating a fatal shooting from late Wednesday night. The Jefferson City Police... More >>
12 hours ago Thursday, December 13 2018 Dec 13, 2018 Thursday, December 13, 2018 6:46:00 AM CST December 13, 2018 in News
BOONVILLE - A student is in custody after they allegedly threatened Laura Speed Elliott Middle School. According to police, the... More >>
14 hours ago Thursday, December 13 2018 Dec 13, 2018 Thursday, December 13, 2018 4:42:00 AM CST December 13, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Christmas is nearing and there are still local families in need. Voluntary Action Center is asking for... More >>
14 hours ago Thursday, December 13 2018 Dec 13, 2018 Thursday, December 13, 2018 4:16:00 AM CST December 13, 2018 in News
(CNN) -- House and Senate negotiators have struck a deal over long-stalled legislation to revamp the way sexual harassment complaints... More >>
21 hours ago Wednesday, December 12 2018 Dec 12, 2018 Wednesday, December 12, 2018 9:43:00 PM CST December 12, 2018 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 46°
7pm 43°
8pm 42°
9pm 41°
10pm 41°