Man with special needs gets a new home and first ever birthday party

Man with special needs gets first birthday party and new family

WACO, Tex. (KWTX/Gray News) - It was a day full of firsts at Lake Waco, as Chris Barrington, a 30-year-old man with special needs, had his first ever birthday party.

“He deserves a good life,” said Barrington’s caretaker, Michell Girard. “He’s had a hard life.”

A little over two months ago Barrington, who Girard says functions at a 6-year-old level, was found walking down Highway 84 alone by the Gatesville Sheriff’s Department.

He had been wandering Gatesville for two days, according to KWTX.

Barrington’s father was sick with late stage leukemia to the point where he couldn’t move.

Chris had no known immediate family, but he did remember the name of his junior high teacher, Ms. Girard.

Girard taught Chris for four years in Gatesville, but hadn’t interacted with Chris in years.

However, she was more than willing to take Chris in.

“I said ‘what happens if I don’t take him? Will he get in a group home?’ they said no he’d go in to an institution,” said Girard. “I said ‘not on my watch he’s not.’”

Girard is now applying for guardianship of Chris after his father passed away on Aug. 1. While they wait for that process to be completed, Girard is making sure Chris has every opportunity to do the things he hadn’t been able to.

“He’s never had a birthday present, a birthday party, he’s never had Christmas, Thanksgiving, nothing,” said Girard. “So this year is going to be full of firsts.”

With the help of JMB Fishing out of Waco, Chris was not only able to have his first birthday party, but also go on his first boat ride and fishing trip.

“You know there are so many things that kids want to do,” said Jimmy Bennett, owner of JMB Fishing.

“They want to go to Disney. I have one that wants to go to Hawaii on a shark fishing trip. Chris is happy to come out on Lake Waco and ride around on a boat. That’s all he wants to do,” Bennett said.

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