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Saturday, Apr. 30, 2016

Scotty's moment: One king, three heroes and a gesture that touches all

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Scotty Maloney is all smiles after being named the 2013 Community basketball homecoming king. He was presented the medal by Jesse Cooper (far right) as he poses with 2012 king Austin Thurber, left, and 2013 homecoming queen Tori Broiles.
(Submitted photo)
For three Community High School students, the chance to be named homecoming king was overshadowed by the opportunity to do something truly special for a beloved classmate.

Seniors Zeke Grissom, Drew Gibbs and Jesse Cooper, who were named to the 2013 basketball homecoming court, decided that whoever won the crown would in turn crown fellow classmate Scotty Maloney the winner, despite the results of the student body's votes.

Emotional time

Maloney, who has a genetic condition called Williams Syndrome, was crowned by Cooper last Friday night, a moment which Cooper says was both emotional and memorable.

"I got real emotional. To put it around his neck and to hear him say, 'Thank you so much,' that was very emotional for me," Cooper said.

As soon as Cooper crowned Maloney as king, the stands erupted in cheers and applause.

And though it's been a week since the homecoming crowning, Maloney still walks through the halls of Community High School smiling and sporting his medal every day.


The idea came about when the homecoming court was having photos taken a few days prior to the homecoming event.

"We were wanting to do something a little bit different for homecoming. And Jesse came up with the idea to give it to Scotty. Me and Drew were like, 'Definitely,'" Grissom said.

And with three nods of agreement, the plan was hatched.

In order to keep the plan under wraps, the three only let a few teachers and members of the administration in charge of homecoming in on their idea.

"We just tried to keep it under wraps and surprise everyone," Cooper said.

Drew Gibbs, homecoming king candidate, with queen Tori Broiles.
(Submitted photo)
True surprise

Needless to say, the surprise worked.

"It was great. He was so excited," Grissom said.

Such a selfless act has put the small community of Unionville in the national spotlight. But the three say they're still the same and would do it all over again in a heartbeat.

"The only way I can view it is by looking at it like it's not about us and to keep remembering it's for Scotty," Gibbs said.

"We're just trying to stay humble about it and try to treat it like every other day. It's great for Unionville to be known for something like this. It's nice to get all the messages from people on Facebook saying there's still people like this in the world," Cooper said.

Homecoming king candidate Zeke Grissom with homecoming court member Kali Sitz.
(Submitted photo)
Mom's pride

Cooper's mother, Tamara Thompson, says an act as kind and thoughtful as this was heartwarming and shouldn't come as a surprise, knowing Jesse as she does, but she still is incredibly humbled by the act.

"My heart is full of joy and pride that I raised a child like that. I raised him to always put God and others first. He's always looked out for the fellow man before himself. As a parent, it's just a heart full of joy," she said.

With so few kind acts of giving and caring in the world today, Thompson hopes the gesture by the three seniors will act like a domino effect and spread to others, not only in Unionville and Bedford County, but to everybody who has caught wind of the boys' act.

"I feel like others will look, not upon individuals, but them as a whole as doing something like that and maybe have a domino effect. It just starts with one small kind deed to trigger acts of kindness," Thompson said.

Shining light

Thompson also felt surges of emotion when Maloney was crowned with the homecoming king medal last week as well.

"Me and my two daughters and my oldest son were there. We were overwhelmed. In another sense, it doesn't really surprise us knowing Jesse, knowing how giving he is," she said.

"As a community, I feel like it shines as a light in our school that we can be somebody instead of acting like the world has come to, there is kindness and hope still left," Thompson said.


And while it seems like such a small gesture to make, Thompson, as well as the three seniors, hope that seeing the story might inspire someone else to commit an act of such compassion.

"As Jesse said a couple of times, he couldn't believe that such an act of kindness turned into this. It goes to show you that there is hope left. Maybe it will shine a light for others to show some act of kindness," Thompson said.