South Windsor men inspired by Guilford High School ‘R’ word project

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SOUTH WINDSOR -- Jim Throwe has been Harold Congdon's caregiver for about 30 years. Congdon, who lives in South Windsor, is developmentally disabled.

Throwe contacted FOX61 after seeing our story about Guilford High School's efforts to eliminate the 'R' word, eager to share Congdon's story.

"It almost brings a tear to my eye," said Throwe. "The young people in the schools are coming around to appreciate everyone for their value."

Throwe considers Congdon to be family. He spends time with him every week, bringing him to church or doctor's appointments. He also receives help from MARC, a non-profit organization that supports people with developmental disabilities.

Congdon, who has trouble reading and writing, spends five days a week taking classes at the South Windsor Senior Center, where he says the staff treat him like family. He also enjoys cooking, coloring and watching UConn women's basketball.

Congdon enjoys living independently in his own apartment, where he is close friends with his neighbors.

"He's just the greatest friend you'd ever want to have," said neighbor Judy Stone.

Stone said she will often wake up on snowy mornings to an already-shoveled walkway, thanks to Congdon.

"I would say, 'Harold, you're not supposed to do that,'" said Stone. "But he'd say, 'But you're my friend and we have to be able to get to one another.'"

Both Stone and Throwe hope that people will look past the development disabilities of others, and see their worth as individuals with both personality and dignity.