Valdosta Daily Times

May 31, 2013

Berrien schools, community help teen

Berrien County Schools

NASHVILLE — When Berrien High School staff and students learned about a special need for one of their students, they rallied to the cause.

Dominick Anthony Nicholas (Dan) Bombardier, an 11th grader at the school, is confined to a wheelchair because he was born with spina bifida.

“Always cheerful and positive, Dan greets his fellow classmates and teachers with a smile and often shares a story,” according to the school. “He endears himself to almost everyone he meets.”

Dan arrives at school each day thanks to a bus equipped with a special lift for students in wheelchairs.

The family needed a similar lift for their van.

Allison Pope, Berrien High’s school nurse, received a phone call from Gail Frazier of Children’s Medical Services on April 29. Frazier asked if a service group could raise funds for the van lift. Pope sent out a plea to staff members and the ideas and pledges came pouring in quickly.

A “Super Hats for Super Dan” Day was sponsored by the school’s AgMedScience Academy. Students made donations to the account and were allowed to wear their caps and hats during that school day.

The Business, Communications and Human Services Academy sponsored events with proceeds going toward the fund. Future Business Leaders of America held bake sales, as did the Citizens Bank in Nashville. Contributions came from the FFA, CTI, various Berrien County School System schools, the community, Berrien County Young Farmers, and other organizations, including individual donors.

Coach Doug Nix, Berrien High teacher and baseball coach, has forged a friendship with Dan. During the fundraising activities, Nix got on the school’s intercom and asked students to dig deep to help their fellow student and challenged the students to donate the cost of a soft drink or snack they might buy that day.

Nix shared his “Top 10 Dan Quotes” with the student body and staff: 10) “I got me a new fish hook.” 9) “What kind of shoes you got on?” 8) “Guess what I did this weekend?” 7) “You got a pick up?” 6) “Gooooolllly!” 5) “Ain’t that crazy?” 4) “Are you serious?” 3) “You got gas in your truck?” 2) “Guess what we’re going to do when we get to heaven?” 1) I’m going to run when I get to heaven!”

Dig deep, they did. Money collected in that one day put the targeted amount over the top. All of the donations were added to funds from another donor secured by Children’s Medical Services. With the excess of funds collected, Children’s Medical Services will have enough money to pay Quail Country Customs in Albany for the installation of the van lift. In addition, they will be able to assist another student in the Berrien County Schools by having a wheelchair ramp installed in his home.

Dan’s family was present at an assembly at Berrien High School on Friday, May 17, to accept the very large check to pay for the installation.