Banks County News

May 14, 2008


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Column
Chris Bridges

Harn provides inspiration to all around him
Jay Harn put the finishing touches on his high school athletic career Saturday leaving all those who witnessed his performances impressed and wanting to see more.
The Banks County High School senior continues to be an inspiration to all those who know him personally and those who know him from seeing him compete. Two state championships during the wheelchair events at the state track meet in Jefferson this past week, along with a runner-up finish, are only part of the story.
I first met Jay in the summer of 2005. I had just arrived on the scene and remember seeing him during summer football workouts. He was one of many who were preparing for the upcoming season and no doubt had a bright future ahead of him on the football field.
That fall, however, Harn was the victim of a hunting accident which has forever changed his life. Falling from his deer stand, Harn was paralyzed from the waist down. Despite the best efforts of his doctors and by Harn, the condition remains.
That turn of events would be more than some people could handle. To be honest, I’m not sure I could deal with it. I have a supportive family which is vital in cases like this, but the mental challenge it would present — not to mention the physical one — is something I cannot begin to comprehend.
Harn, however, has literally become an inspiration to me and countless others who have come in contact with him. Every time I see him now, he asks me how I am doing. Imagine that. He asks me how I am doing. He is always smiling and to be honest, you view him as a regular high school senior. He cuts up with his friends, competes in sports, has a girlfriend and is preparing for life after graduation.
Still, life is not the same for Harn and that’s why his accomplishments this past week make everyone who witnessed them smile. The look captured on his face by our photographer Lyn Sengupta says it all in my opinion. Harn had just won one of his two wheelchair race events and the moment was not lost on him.
I will miss seeing Jay compete next spring. Track season at BCHS won’t be the same without him. I will miss his competitive spirit, his great positive attitude and the great way in which he represented his school.
It will also be difficult not having Jay around to provide inspiration for those who know. I admit he provided it for me. Afterall, when you get to know Jay how can the little things in life bother you. I only wish I could have the positive approach Jay does on a daily basis. I’m not ashamed to say he is a hero of mine. He is also a friend. That’s something I hope he feels the same way about.
Best of luck Jay in all the future brings. You have given all of us reason to smile.



 

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