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Twins Henry "Gage" Johnson and William "Jacob" Johnson Named County Citizens of the Month

Goshen – Orange County has named twins Henry “Gage” Johnson and William “Jacob” Johnson April’s Citizens of the Month, in honor of Autism Awareness Month.

Jacob and Gage were born in 1991, six weeks premature. This, along with other circumstances resulted in Gage having a Cerebral Palsy condition and later they were both determined to be on the Autism spectrum. They were raised in Hamptonburgh and sadly, when Gage and Jacob were 24 years old, they lost their dad to esophageal cancer. Today, the brothers live ten minutes from each other and see each other often.

“Spending some time with Gage and Jacob was wonderful. They are both fun and kind men, full of questions and genuinely interested as well as interesting,” Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus said. “They are a great example of how an inclusive, welcoming, accepting, and embracing community can help those with autism lead active and engaged lives.”

That is due in large part to their mom, Deb Major, who is well known for her talented singing at venues around the region and her contributions to making Orange County more aware and inclusive of those who are differently abled. Deb worked hard to make sure her boys were surrounded by people who would love and support them, but also challenge and encourage them to excel. Deb currently works with the Orange County Think Differently Committee and other organizations that work to promote acceptance and inclusion of individuals of all abilities.

Gage, who graduated in 2010 from Valley Central High School, attends Camp Jabberwocky each summer in Martha’s Vineyard. Jabberwocky is a camp for the physically disabled. He currently works as a swim/basketball coach for Thunderbolts and has lived independently in Middletown for over four years. Gage loves art, travel, music, and acting (especially Broadway), and is a huge Yankees fan. He does his own “GFan” videos about many of the games.

Jacob did not speak until he was seven years old and is now a savant with dates and calendars. He can remember childhood events in extensive detail. He is a fan of amusement parks, cruises, movies, Broadway shows, and traveling. Jacob lived for five years at, and graduated from the Center for Discovery, working as a farm hand with bees, cows, horses, and chickens. Jacob currently lives in a group home where he has been for the past seven years, managed recently by Adapt of the Hudson Valley.

“My boys are everything to me,” said Major. “They are so different, but both tremendous blessings to me in their own ways. They are extremely proud and so honored to be selected by County Executive Neuhaus as citizens of the month.”

Source: Mid-Hudson News

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