Davidson student wins Inspirational Student Hero award

Gardner 1

Jerrold Gardner, 14, right, flanks Ethan Mitchell, 13, — his “buddy” in a program that assists special-needs students — in the Davidson Middle School hallway. Jerrold recently received Cox Cable’s Inspirational Student Hero award. The Milligan resident will be recognized at a May 14 event in Fort Walton Beach.

MATTHEW BROWN / News Bulletin
Published: Wednesday, February 27, 2013 at 13:38 PM.

CRESTVIEW — You could say one Davidson Middle School student has a winning attitude.

Jerrold Gardner, 14, of Milligan, is the recipient of Cox Cable’s Inspirational Student Hero award for his positive attitude despite the challenges he has faced.

Overcoming adversity

The eighth-grader was diagnosed with cerebral palsy shortly after birth. Brain abnormalities or injuries contribute to the disorder, whose symptoms can include tremors, unusual gait, tight joints and loss of coordination, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

Jerrold — who uses a motorized wheelchair to get around — also dealt with being shuffled around following his mother Aimee’s death when he was in the fifth grade. He lived with another relative immediately following the incident, but the arrangement did not work out.

Then his stepfather, John Gardner, stepped in to raise him.

"He took ownership of me," Jerrold said. John, a retired U.S Marine, served tours in Afghanistan and Iraq, and now works as a contractor, Jerrold said.



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