Valley Life for All column: Meet Henry – aka ‘H-Bomb’

Henry Schroeder

The Post Independent, in conjunction with Valley Life For All, continues a monthly series of profiles about people in our community who have different abilities. Twenty-seven percent of Americans experience some disability. One hundred percent are a part of our community. Each has a story.

Henry, aka H-Bomb, because he has a bomb smile, is a bomb skier and will blow you away with his knock-knock jokes. His story will change you.

Here’s Henry’s story:

My name is Sandy and I am the proud mother of H-Bomb, aka Henry. He is 13 years old, full of energy and sunshine and he makes me laugh every day! He also has Down Syndrome and people never let me forget it! Here is one example from the volumes of similar memories I have.

Henry loves to go grocery shopping with me. He is that helpful kind of boy. I choose the items, he puts them in the cart. The produce section is always first. We were there on a Sunday afternoon, so the place was pretty crowded with other families, too. We were counting the right number of bananas one day and an older gentleman approached us. He pulled from his pocket a small, wooden car and asked Henry if he wanted it. Henry never says no, and took the little car from the man. The man went on to explain to me that he offers these little tokens to “all of God’s special children.” There was even a label stamped on the bottom: God’s Special Children. He continued with the fact that he has lots of these items that he has made and whenever he encounters a “special” child, he gives one away. As he walked away, I noticed, there were no other “special children who received a gift.

There were lots of other families and young people in the grocery store. Henry is 13 years old. Why was he singled out? HE was the ONLY special child? From my perspective, he is just as special as any child and deserves to be treated like any of the other special children; every child is a gift from God, mine is no different. So why is he treated that way?

I’m not exactly sure why others believe that children like mine deserve more stuff, more attention, or any other things that can be pulled out of pockets. My reaction reveals my respect for this “special man’s” gift. I said thank you, made Henry say thank you and we continued our shopping. I don’t want to question his motives or confront him with my opinions about my child. I do want him, and people like him, to understand that Henry does not need this type of attention to feel or be special. He is special just like every other child.

Local nonprofit Valley Life for All is working to build inclusive communities where people of all abilities belong and contribute. We want to hear your voice. Request a training or join the conversation at or #voicability4all. Help us redefine the perception of challenge.

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