Dunmorean of the Month: Tommy Williams

Dunmorean of the Month - Tommy WilliamsBy Emily Fedor

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately one in 700 babies in the United States is born with Down Syndrome. That’s about 6,000 each year.

In honor of March 21 being World Down Syndrome Day, the Dunmorean is proud to recognize one of the borough’s youngest residents as this month’s “Dunmorean of the Month.”

Tommy Williams is one year old. Come July 19, that number will change to two.

His parents, Julie and Mark, say he’s just like any other toddler. He loves to play catch, crawl around the house and, of course, play with his big brother Alex and big sister Kelcey.

“He’s full of life. He loves to play and laugh,” his mom Julie said.

The only thing that’s a little different about Tommy is that he was born with an extra chromosome.

The Williams first learned of the diagnosis from an ultrasound performed when Julie was 20 weeks pregnant. The scan showed three soft markers or possible indicators that Tommy could have Down Syndrome.

And months later when Tommy was born, that possibility turned out to be a reality. Doctors told Julie and Mark their new baby boy did in fact have Down Syndrome specifically, Trisomy 21, which is the most common type of Down Syndrome.

As you may know, people who have Down Syndrome may look and learn a little differently, but that doesn’t mean Tommy or others who have the condition can’t live life to the fullest.

Every week, Tommy spends hours in therapy to ensure that. He’s been going through both physical and occupational therapy sessions since he was just a few months old. And now that he’s a little older and starting to use his vocal chords, he’ll soon be starting speech therapy too.

As for how long those sessions will last, well, that’s all up to Tommy.

“Therapists say it’s all up to what Tommy does. Every kid is different. They don’t go at the same pace,” said Julie. “So it’s up to him. We’ll just see what he does.”

So everyone can see what Tommy’s doing, Julie Williams decided to create a Facebook page called “Tommy’s Troopers.”

“So many people wanted to see Tommy and wanted to follow him,” she said. “So I thought, why don’t I just make a page? That way anyone who wants to follow Tommy can just go to this page.”

Dunmorean of the Month - Williams Family

The Williams Family is shown here sporting their “Down with Tommy Shirts” outside the borough building. From left, Julie, Tommy, Kelcey, Mark and Alex Williams.

On the Tommy’s Troopers page, Julie posts milestones that Tommy has reached, such as his first words: “boo” and “hi.” She also shares details for fundraisers and events aiming to raise awareness for her son’s condition, as well as information from “Nothing Down” a non-profit organization for which Tommy is an ambassador.

The community of Bucktown always rallies around its own, and this little guy is no exception. To show that Dunmore is down with Tommy, borough officials even went as far as proclaiming October 20 as “Tommy Williams Down Syndrome Awareness Day” this past fall.

According to a report from the TImes Tribune, council President Michael McHale said, “It’s rare that we as council are without words, but we couldn’t be more happy and more proud of this fellow Dunmorean.”

“Dunmore is just so supportive of him,” said Julie. “I run into people and they’ll say “Hi Tommy,” and I don’t know who they are. People just know him, and I’m glad Dunmore is so supportive of all kids in our area.”

Julie says she wants people to know one thing about her son’s condition, and that is despite how scary the condition may seem, it’s really not scary at all.

“There’s nothing scary about Down Syndrome. When I was pregnant and found out, it was scary for me,” said Julie, “but Tommy is no different than my other two children. He’s so lovable, and he’s just a normal little kid.”

For more information about Down Syndrome, feel free to visit NothingDown.org.


“Joe for Jude” Set for April 22nd

Jog for Jude

At the kickoff meeting in February for the fourth annual “Jog for Jude 2018”, the Jude Zayac Foundation presented a check for $35,000 to the St. Joseph’s Center Baby Pantry.  “Jog for Jude” in memory of Jude Zayac raises funds to fight SIDS and to enrich the lives of children in our community.

To participate in the event on Sunday, April 22, at the Dunmore Community Center go to RunSignUp.com/JogForJude.

Voyager Video Earns American Advertising Award

Voyager Video (Lindsay Barrasse)

Lindsay Barrasse, a native of Dunmore and half of the husband-and-wife team of Voyager Video, is shown with the Silver award they earned at the American Advertising Awards.

Voyager Video, a husband and wife video production team located in Dunmore, took home Silver at The American Advertising Awards for their work for the 2017 ScrantonMade’s Arts On The Square internet marketing campaign.

Lindsay Barrasse of Voyager is a Dunmore native who has worked in film and video across the United States. Her husband Dave is the other half of the creative team.

The award-winning campaign focused on Arts On The Square economical impact it makes on the area, bringing vendors and shoppers from all over to our area. Arts On The Square is an annual arts festival held in in downtown Scranton, wrapping around the courthouse square with over 100 vendors, a stage of talented local musicians, performing arts as well as children’s activities. This year the event is scheduled for August 4, 2018 from noon to 8 p.m.

The American Advertising Awards is the advertising industry’s largest and most representative competition. With three stages of competition beginning at the local level, the American Advertising Awards recognize and rewards for outstanding creative in the art of advertising.

The American Advertising Awards select the most creative entries in each category which are determined by a scoring process in which a panel of judges evaluates all creative dimensions of every entry. This year judging took place in Rochester, NY. Five insightful creatives from the Rochester area gathered to determine the best of the best. From print to web to interactive media, the judges took their time discussing the creativity and direction of each piece, ultimately deciding on the winners.

This year there was no Gold awarded in that category of Internet Marketing Campaign.

Conducted annually by the American Advertising Federation (AAF), the local American Advertising Awards is the first of a three-tier, national competition. Concurrently, all across the country, local entrants vie for recognition as the very best in their markets. This year the AAF of NEPA held the awards at the Radisson Lackawanna Station Hotel Saturday, March 3.

Toomey Helps Lady Bucks Score District Title, Advance to PIAA Playoffs


By Steve Svetovich

Victoria Toomey scored 28 points in leading the Dunmore Lady Bucks to a 48-44 win over Holy Redeemer as her team won the District 2 Class 3A title Saturday, March 3, at Mohegan Sun Arena.

Coach Ben O’Brien’s team avenged last year’s title game defeat with the win.

The Lady Bucks are now 25-1.

Talented junior Gianna Delfino played a tremendous all-around game for Dunmore as she added nine points, nine assists and eight rebounds in the title win.

Toomey and Delfino and Kelly Quinn combined for 45 of Dunmore’s 48 points. Quinn, averaging 11.2 points per game entering the contest, scored eight points. Toomey and Lisa Tallo added eight rebounds each for the Lady Bucks.

Toomey, a junior, was on the entire contest as she hit 11-of-14 shots in the win.

She came into the game averaging 16.3 points per game and has shined on the court all season.

Holy Redeemer made only 14 of 59 shots against the tight Dunmore defense.

Athletes of the Month - Lady Bucks Toomey

Victoria Toomey helped lead her team to 48-44 win over Holy Redeemer and another district title. (Photo Credit: Rich Banick Photography)

Toomey got in foul trouble early in the game. She picked up two fouls and sat the final 1:53 of the first quarter as Holy Redeemer built a 13-10 lead.

But when she came back in the game, the junior stalwart was simply dominant.

Toomey scored nine of her points in the second quarter as the Lady Bucks moved ahead and took a 25-21 lead into the second half.

Dunmore went ahead 32-23 in the third quarter before Holy Redeemer trimmed the Lady Bucks lead to 34-30 after a 3-pointer by Cameron Marcinkowski.

Toomey then hit a key bucket for Dunmore with 12 seconds left in the third quarter.

Dunmore took a 36-30 lead into the final quarter. A 3-point play by Sam Yencha cut the Dunmore lead to 47-44, with 1:49 left in the game.

Holy Redeemer had one final opportunity to tie the game, but Tallo made the play of the contest when she stole the ball, was fouled and hit a free throw to seal the win with 2.6 seconds left. Tallo, averaging 9.8 points entering the game, made the first of two free throws. Her only steal and only point of the game were the game’s biggest.

Maria Borgia and Alexis Chapman also played nice all-around games for Dunmore in a strong team effort.

Yencha, averaging 14.7 points entering the game, led Holy Redeemer with 13 points.

Dunmore defeated Meyers, 56-24, and Mid Valley, 60-27, to get to the district final.

Holy Redeemer defeated Dunmore, 51-37, in last year’s district final.

Holy Redeemer dropped to 22-4.

The Lady Bucks now advance to the PIAA playoffs.