Jubal Celebration – Brixner students complete community service and meet their 2-year-old “sparrow”

“Jubal! Jubal! Jubal!”

The 2-year-old, who nearly lost his life less than three months ago, looked up at the crowded stands in the gymnasium at Brixner Junior High School and gave the students a quick smile before hiding his face on his mother’s shoulder.

The students then stood up, clapping their hands and stamping their feet.

In March, Brixner students adopted Jubal as a Sparrow Club “sparrow” and, within a month, completed more than 400 hours of community service to financially help the family recover from their injuries. Sparrow Club sponsors donated money to the family for community service hours Brixner students logged in on behalf of Jubal.

The students first met Jubal on Tuesday at a celebratory event at the school.

Fighting back tears, Jubal’s mother, Sarah Hirengen, addressed the students, thanking them for supporting a boy they had never met. Jubal spent nine weeks in Portland hospitals before returning home to his family.

“I want you to know how much you mean to us,” she said. “What you did was not only work hard to help earn money to take care of Jubal, but more importantly, we got your notes telling us why you were doing this, and we received updates on what you were doing. What you did was bring us home… We heard your voices, we saw your words, we felt your prayers… Money is fantastic, your hard work is amazing, but I want you to know that it was your passion, your commitment, your prayers, your words and your thoughts that meant even more to us.

Jubal was seriously injured in an accident on February 16, the day before his second birthday. Klamath County No. 1 Fire District paramedics responded, providing life-saving treatment before transporting the toddler to hospital. He was rushed to Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland and spent four weeks on life support before being transferred to an inpatient rehabilitation center. Among his injuries were a major head trauma and a broken arm.

Today, the 2-year-old is back home with her seven siblings and her parents. He still suffers from partial paralysis on his right side, is totally blind in his left eye and partially blind in his right eye. But his speech has returned and is now better than it was before the accident. His personality is back and although he has a wheelchair, he walks and stands, his mother says.

Paramedics who responded to the scene and the Klamath County 911 dispatcher who took the emergency call were invited to Tuesday’s celebration at Brixner Junior High School.

“We came to meet Jubal and see how well he is recovering,” Capt. Steve Lewis of Klamath County Fire District No. 1 said after paramedics and the dispatcher gathered for a photo with the toddler and his mother. “I’ve been doing this for 20 years and it’s rare to get wins like this.”

Brixner teacher and Sparrow Club counselor Kjaersti Roberts wept during the emotional event, telling students that being able to meet Jubal in person is “a miracle that you can be a part of.”

“I hope you take this experience home with you, knowing that you can go out into the community and you can make a difference,” she told students. “You can do so much more than you thought you could.”

Jubal, his family, Klamath County No. 1 Fire District paramedics and Brixner High School staff and students celebrate Jubal’s recovery at a Sparrow Club event Tuesday at the school.

Brixner Junior High School principal Ruben Paschal meets Jubal and his mother, Sarah Hirengen, after donating $300 to the family from a coin drive at the school. Paschal and Vice Principal Tom Loney, left, volunteered to pie their faces as part of the coin drive.

Students at Brixner Junior High School exchange punches and claps with their “sparrow,” Jubal, 2.

Kjaersti Roberts, a teacher at Brixner Junior High School and counselor for the Sparrow Club, introduces students to Jubal and her mother, Sarah Hirengen, during a celebratory event Tuesday in the school gymnasium. It was the first time students had met Jubal in person after adopting him as a “sparrow” last month.

Jubal and his mother, Sarah Hirengen, meet with Klamath County Fire District No. 1 paramedics Jonathan Rott, Wes Alaniz, Shawn Elliott, Steve Leslie, Denny Roberts and 911 dispatcher Kathy Walton at a celebration from the Sparrow Club on Tuesday at Brixner Junior High School.

Jill E. Washington