Papillion Teen to be Featured in Times Square

Meghan McRoberts

PAPILLION (KPTM)- It doesn't take fame and fortune to get your face seen in New York City. One Papillion teenager is getting the privilege for simply being himself.

16- year- old Jacob Gehringer has Down Syndrome, but his family knows he's just like any other teen. He loves sports, he loves seeing his friends, and loves his dog Buddy. He raised Buddy since it was a puppy. He's one of several brothers, plays in his High School band at Papillion South, and even leads the "Roller coaster Cheer" at games.

He's also on the bowling team in High School. A picture of him in his bowling polo is the picture selected to light up the "Big Apple".

It's the message that Jacob is just like any other teen that his family hopes more people will understand. "I am an awesome guy, and I'm good looking," said Jacob.

His picture was selected out of nearly 1000 entries to be featured in a video montage in Times Square. It kicks off Down Syndrome Awareness Month in October.

"We're always excited because we like to help raise awareness for people with Down Syndrome so they're depicted as people with abilities," said Jason's mother, Denise Gehringer.

Jacob's photo has been selected to be featured 4 times. "I'm going to be excited, and also happy," said Jason.

"We spend a lot of time and energy trying to make sure that Jake gets to have a normal happy life like everyone else," Denise said.

Denise knows this is one opportunity that many people may not ever get, and hopes it's just the beginning of big things to come for Jacob.

The video montage also kicks of the 18th annual Buddy Walk in Central Park. More than 250 other cities across the nation will also hold their own buddy walk. Omaha's will be on October 13 at UNO.

Registration begins at 9am. The walk starts at 11am.