Several weeks ago, KLGR told you about how Kolie Ferrier, daughter of Aaron and Jackie Ferrier of Redwood Falls, and about how her photo appeared on a giant video display in New York’s Times Square. On Sept. 18, seven year old Kolie was of nearly 500 people whose photo was shown to celebrate the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) and its annual Times Square video presentation.
Now KLGR has learned another interesting Redwood Falls connection about Kolie’s day in Times Square. It seems the giant video display was built by Daktronics, which has a facility based in Redwood Falls.
NDSS introduced the Times Square video presentation in 1999. It kicks off the flagship Buddy Walk which has taken place in New York City since 1995 as part of the National Buddy Walk Program. The decision to participate in the annual event was an easy one for the Ferriers, because it afforded another opportunity for them to get the word out about Down syndrome.
Kolie was very excited to see her face on TV, said Jackie, adding she has no idea where or even what Times Square is. Just seeing herself on the livestream the family watched was enough to get her jumping around so much no one could get a good picture of her reaction.
What makes the experience for the Ferrier family even more exciting is knowing that the video display that was used in downtown New York that Saturday was built by Daktronics, connecting them with the local community on another level.
Advocacy for people who are not “typical” has become a major part of what Jackie does, as she spreads the message that people like Kolie just want to be “included, involved, have a voice, be loved and treated the same.”
Jackie said knowing Daktronics was involved in this way is amazing, adding that is just one more way their family has experienced community and local business support for Kolie and others like her.
Jackie admitted Kolie has impacted more people than she ever could have imagined.
“It is my hope that she is helping teach people that it is OK to be different,” Jackie added.
Adams wants Daktronics’ employees to know that their product is part of something that means a great deal to the Down syndrome community.
“By showing photos of our loved ones on the giant screens of Times Square, we are demonstrating the ways they enrich the lives of their families, communities and our society. We are grateful that Daktronics plays a role in making that happen,” Adams explained.
There were 126,000 views on the Facebook Live of the presentation.
For Tom Quackenbush, plant manager for Daktronics in Redwood Falls, stories like this help create a personal connection to the work being done.
“This event helps us realize the work we do is important,” said Quackenbush, adding he and many others at Daktronics know Kolie and her family. “That just makes the connection even more special.”
After all, the belief that viewing life the same way all the time would make for a boring world not only helps people see their differences, but it also provides a way for companies like Daktronics to celebrate those differences and bring them to life one larger than life display at a time.