Andrew Loggins--Voice of Caring & Compassion - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Andrew Loggins--Voice of Caring & Compassion



"The reason we read is so that you know how to read when you get out to work," says

High School teacher Cheryl Tlusty-Marsh, as she speaks on-on-one with student Andrew Loggins, as she teaches Andrew to read in her Special Education classroom at Cedar Rapids Washington High School.

When eighteen-year old Andrew speaks to Cheryl, he uses a DynaWrite communication device. DynaWrite is keyboard-based, and designed for students, like Andrew, whom cannot speak, but have the motor skills to type in the letters, which Andrew does all day long.

Diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy as a baby, Andrew has never spoken a word on his own:

Cheryl says, "It's hard, sometimes, to know what students are capable of doing; what they're not doing. But, when he can type it in his computer, and speak it out to us, we know exactly what he's feeling, what he's doing; what he can do and what he can't do. What his strengths are. What his weaknesses are, and it's just a wonderful tool for communication."

"He just wants to be like everybody else," says Andrew's Mom, Kim.

Andrew's parents, Kim and Scott Loggins, of Cedar Rapids, know their son is funny and inspiring.

Kim says, "I think, too, it's his easy-going attitude on things he wants to try. He tries the best he can, at school, yes, and at home."

Says, Scott, "I think it's his spirit. He's always in a great mood—he's a people person. He enjoys his friends, and tries to do his best all the time. He's a very considerate, very polite child."

Andrew even uses his DynaWrite when he's at Special Olympics. "He works hard,"says his Special Olympics Coach, Becky Christy, another Cedar Rapids Washington teacher, whom says at first, communicating with Andrew was difficult, so they improvised with sign language.

Becky says, "We did a lot of hand signals. I understood he knew some basic sign language, so I was able to go with that. When I first met him, he couldn't do anything. Now, he's able to dribble the ball; throw the ball at a target. He's willing to try, and he doesn't give up. He keeps going and he's got that I can do it spirit."

Andrew's Mom, Kim, says Special Olympics also bring out Andrew's personality:

"He could win a blue ribbon and it's like---Yeah, he won. But everyone else who's involved in it, he's cheering them on. He's giving everybody else a high five. People can be going. You got the Gold Medal and he gets a little shy about it and says—‘Well, I'm, hungry, so let's just go eat."

Andrew joined the world of Boy Scouting in second grade. Despite his physical struggles, Andrew has stuck with Boy Scouts all these years, meeting so many friends who share his interests and love of the outdoors.

Andrew has earned the highest Boy Scout rank of Eagle Scout. That's a demanding achievement, requiring 21 merit badges and several years of requirements.

"The thing that always amazed me is that, even with the challenges, his positive attitude-He has a great spirit. He's always happy."

Andrew also shows great love for his parents, and you just know he's very thankful for the many voices in his corner.

For his Eagle Scout project, Andrew built  24 wood duck houses for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, and donated them to Lake McBride State Park. That's just the kind of person Andrew Loggins is.

Online reporter:  Ron Steele    




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