The fifth-grade football team at Williams Intermediate School in Bridgewater, MA stood up to the kids who regularly bully their six-year-old water boy by wearing suits and ties to school and holding a Danny Appreciation Day.
Danny Keefe suffered a brain hemorrhage when he was a week old and has apraxia of speech. The bullies called him a baby because he cannot articulate exactly what he means, and they tease him for wearing a jacket, tie and fedora to class every day. Quarterback Tommy Cooney did not appreciate his friend being treated this way and wanted to do something nice for him.
On Wednesday, Cooney and 44 other fifth-graders arrived in school and surrounded the dashing 6-year-old Danny, all dressed in jackets and ties.
‘This is the best day ever,’ a beaming Danny exclaimed as the older kids chanted his name in the library.
Cooney turned emotional while talking about his team’s beloved waterboy, tearfully explaining to the anchors of Fox 25 that the 6-year-old is part of their ‘band of brothers,’ and they were not going to let anyone bully him.
‘We thought we would all come to school like Danny and sponsor Danny to show Danny that we love him…that we love him very much,’ the 11-year-old told WCVB, wiping his eyes.
Cooney was not the only member to speak words of love for Danny.
Jimmy Peterson, 11, put it this way: “The coach calls us a band of brothers. He’s one of us.”
Nicholas Lambert, 10, said: “We’re all human and all the same. We’re all created equal.”
Brett Jackson, 10, said: “Whenever I see the big, huge smile on his face, it makes my day. He keeps his head high.”
Larry Kirlis, 10, said he likes Danny just the way he is. Larry has two siblings with special needs and has seen how much it hurts when people make fun of them.
“Danny couldn’t be any better,” Larry said.
Matt Giurleo, 11, said: “I don’t think he should be picked on because he’s different. Everyone’s different. He shouldn’t be picked on for who he is.”