- Associated Press - Sunday, May 10, 2015

ASHDOWN, Ark. (AP) - Lessons were learned and memories created during the Ashdown High School prom.

Brandon Kane Cramer attended his senior prom April 25 in the high school gym with the help of his family, the school faculty and Heritage Plaza nursing facility, the Texarkana Gazette (https://bit.ly/1Ee40yz ) reported.

Everyone was cautious and a little nervous.

Brandon has been recovering from a 2013 car accident that left him with brain damage. He is unable to communicate and is confined to a wheelchair. Brandon lives at Heritage Plaza in Texarkana. The staff there helped his mother and aunt put his prom clothes on him. Driver Lee Brown took Brandon to the high school in the plaza’s van, renamed “the Chariot.”

When Brandon arrived, the music was providing a rhythmic and upbeat scene as he was wheeled into the gym decorated with a Casino Royale and ballroom theme.

The decorations demonstrated the kindness of Nancy Gibson, who organized the prom, and the students who welcomed Brandon back to his school: a path was outlined to roll the wheelchair into the gym without interruption.

His eyes were open, and his classmates walked with respect over to Brandon to whisper into his ears and pat his shoulders.

He was dressed in black tuxedo pants with matching patent leather shoes, a white dress shirt and camouflage vest and tie. He was wearing a single white rose and white orchids donated by Persnickity Too florist.

His mother, Melissa Jones, watched the friends take turns whispering to Brandon.

She wiped tears from her eyes and from Brandon’s eyes.

“I started thinking about the prom shortly after his accident. We don’t want Brandon’s life to pass him by without him being able to participate in activities as he would have normally. We will do everything we can to see that he makes memories,” Melissa said.

“I was nervous. We didn’t know how the kids would feel about Brandon,” she said.

“Many of them haven’t seen him since his accident and wouldn’t know what to expect. This night was better than I could ever have imagined. There are no words to express how much we appreciate the staff and students who went out of their way to make Brandon’s night a memory we will never forget,” she said.

Attending the prom was a milestone for Brandon.

“It wasn’t what we had imagined for him years ago, but it was a very memorable time. Hopefully, this night will always be in his mind as a great and exciting time with his friends,” Melissa said.

“The students rallied around Brandon. They took him out on the dance floor and made him be a part of the action. They posed for pictures with him, talked to him and took time with him. Mr. (Todd) Gibson (a teacher) and Brandon’s peers are responsible for making this such a memorable night for Brandon. We are so grateful,” she said.

Jennifer Parker, an Ashdown High junior, escorted Brandon to the gym and organized some of the group photos and took him to the dance floor.

Then senior Tiffany Gabbard and Rachel Hurd, a sophomore, guided Brandon on the dance, going from a line dance to a circle dance and rolling the wheelchair across the floor.

It was a night to remember.

“Brandon won’t be forgotten. Brandon is so lucky to have such awesome friends who have not forgotten about him since his accident,” said his grandmother Roxie Jones.

___

Information from: Texarkana Gazette, https://www.texarkanagazette.com


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