Brittney Lofthouse – Contributing Writer
The Macon County community showed up big this weekend to help Nash Broyles celebrate his 29th birthday.
“We were blown away by the love and support shown for Nash on Friday,” said Jerri Fifer, Nash’s mother. “From Mayor Bob Scott to Sheriff Robert Holland, all of the most special people in Nash’s life helped to make his birthday a memorable one.”
Nash Broyles is a kind, loving, spirited individual who loves to hug everyone he meets. The COVID19 pandemic has been extra difficult for Nash, as he is autistic and communicates with sign language.
“It has been hard enough having to explain to Nash why we are having to stay at home and why he isn’t able to give the big bear hugs he loves so much,” said Jerri. “So explaining to him that his birthday was going to be different was extra difficult.”
Jerri said that she would have monthly talks with Nash as his 29th birthday grew closer, which was Friday, July 17. She would explain to him that they would have to wait and see what they would be able to do in terms of celebrating and tried to prepare him for how different this birthday might be.
That is when she got the idea to invite the community for a drive-by birthday parade by Nash’s home as well as reach out to Sheriff Robert Holland to arrange some time for Nash to spend with local law enforcement, whom he greatly admires.
The plans got rolling and the community didn’t disappoint. On Friday, Nash’s day began by meeting Mayor Bob Scott at the gazebo for a special birthday sendoff with law enforcement and fire fighters. Scott has been in Nash’s life since he was a young boy, when Scott helped bring Nash home after a scary incident.
“Nash is a inspiration. I don’t know how else to put it,” said Scott. “We all can learn from him how to deal with life when we are not dealt a perfect hand. I vaguely remember the incident his mother is referring to. But I did not do anything that anyone else would not have done. It was just a fluke that I was able to be of help. When Jerri called and told me about Nash’s birthday, I wanted him to know that our fire, rescue and police were proud of him. If it had not been for the pandemic, I would have loved for us to wish him a birthday at Pickin’ or other big town event. But it worked out the way it did.”
Nash then met up with Sheriff Holland for a lunch and a visit with law enforcement at the Macon County Detention Center before heading home to await his birthday parade.
“The parade by the house was almost overwhelming because of all of the support,” said Jerri. “People drove by and honked and waved and had made signs. His classmates were able to drive by with their parents, which was a blessing since Nash hasn’t been able to see them.”
Jerri said the highlight for Nash was probably being able to gift those who drove by with fire starters that he had made himself.
“Nash loves to give gifts about as much as anyone else likes to receive them, so his favorite part of the day was probably giving out the fire starters that he made himself,” she said. “It’s a little business he wants to start and something he works on independently, so being able to gift his hard work to others made him very happy.”
Jerri said Nash is already looking forward to next year when he will turn 30 and said that he hopes all of his friends will celebrate with him again… but this time he hopes they are able to get out of their cars and dance with him.