Helping one person at a time

A firefighter turned big brother, John helps anyone he can.

John was a firefighter prior to his interest in Big Brothers Big Sisters but was paralyzed in an accident helping a neighbor after a storm. When Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Greater Miami Valley presented at an event he attended, he felt called “to do something outside of [his] own life”.  After making the decision to become a Big Brother, John was matched with Lorenz, who lives in Centerville with his mother and sister. This match made on January 19th, 2010, marks the beginning of a friendship that has lasted over three-and-a-half years.

John and Lorenz enjoy doing a variety of activities together throughout the Dayton area. They particularly like to attend Dayton Dragons games, fix Lorenz’s bike, build birdhouses, and work on homework. Lorenz occasionally rides his bike to John’s house to visit, where they enjoy dinner with John’s wife and Lorenz will help out around the house.

The time spent working around the house is especially enjoyable for the pair. John recalls a time when he and Lorenz were working on a project and he “could literally see [Lorenz’s] confidence rise by the look on his face. He was learning how to use different tools around the house and was using them by himself for the first time. He was really proud of his accomplishment, and it was exciting to see.”

When asked about his experience as a Big Brother, John remarked that his time with Lorenz has “opened my eyes to the needs that are out there.”  He also believes that “BBBS offers children the opportunity to witness firsthand what a healthy relationship looks like”.

John continues to spend time with Lorenz every one or two weeks, a relationship that he’s seen to have grown “beyond friendship to more of true brothers”.

John and his wife recently adopted two children. John’s wife was a Big Sister, but she had to close the match when they adopted the children. She continues to see her Little Sister, Lily.