THE MIRACLE BOY OF BAXTON, MISSOURI
By Tom Sweitzer
Kevin Christopher is Valedictorian at Baxton High School. He never had a girlfriend, until he met Beth, the daughter of Pastor Huntington, the newest minister at the local Methodist church. Even though she has Cerebral Palsy and is restricted to a wheelchair this does not stop Kevin from falling in love with her. At the same time Kevin’s eight- year old brother, Josh who has severe Autism, one day unbeknownst to his family is filmed by a neighbor’s I-phone as he holds and tenderly caresses a dying bird. The bird revives in his grasp and off it flies as if the love from the young boy’s hands gave it life once again. The video of this moment is put on-line, which begins a viral phenomenon that will forever change the lives of Kevin and Joshua’s family along with the town of Baxton, Missouri
With the world’s constant desperation for stories of hope and with the complexity and exploitation of social-media, the town becomes a hub for thousands to flock to in hopes of meeting and finding healing from this miracle boy of Baxton, Missouri. Through the chaos of fame and expectations, which are of biblical proportion the Christopher family learns that miracles are found within average everyday moments, and fame has a cost. The story bids the question what is a miracle and who has the right to believe in them?
Tom Sweitzer – MTT, MT-BC – Tom received the title Loudoun County Humanitarian of the Year in 2014 and in that same year was invited as a guest to the White House for his work with disabilities. A Place to Be and Tom was awarded “Best Music Therapy Provider of the Year” by the American Music Therapy Association in June 2017. That same year he was honored to be a guest at the “Sound Health” conference hosted by The National Institute of Health along with renowned Opera star, Renee Fleming and NIH Director, Dr. Francis Collins. His choir, “Different Strokes for Different Folks,” a group comprised of stroke survivors through Inova Hospital sang alongside Renee Fleming. He spoke with Mrs. Fleming on Music and the Mind at Tanglewood. He also directed the Documentary, “Just Like Will,” which has won several awards both nationally and internationally. Tom is a subject of a new documentary, “Music Got Me Here,” along with one of his heroes, Forrest Allen, a young man with Traumatic Brain Injury who found his voice and courage again through Music Therapy. The movie will be on main streaming services this Fall 2020. He has signed a contract with MGM studios for the making of a movie based on the Documentary. Tom works closely with producer, HillTopper productions and most recently toured his one-man show, “Meatballs and Music,” a 90-minute play based on his child-hood. As a COVID survivor, Tom felt he needed to create something for young children to process the pandemic. He created “The Land of Music,” an animated series educating and bringing hope to young children during this time of uncertainty. The show can be found of the YouTube channel- A PLACE TO BE FAMILY. Tom is dedicated in growing A Place to Be and its mission to help people face, navigate and overcome life’s challenges through Music Therapy.
He did not want to arrive for graduation smelling like doughnuts, but he promised Mrs. Peterman he’d work until 4:00. Now it was 4:16, and all the seniors were instructed, reminded, and all but threatened that they had to be at the school by 5:00.
Kevin, being Valedictorian, should arrive early. “Very early,” Principle Betar insisted.
Now there was no way.
“Hope graduation is going to be everything you dream of,” Mrs. Peterman said, talking over the counter as Kevin fled to the back room of the doughnut shop to change clothes. “We are all so proud of you and I have my fingers crossed your special plan works today.”
“Thanks, hope it does too,” he called over his shoulder. Stripping off his brown apron and red visor, he uncovered the suit his mom had bought him, out of the gray plastic garment bag.
“What a difference a year makes, huh?” Mrs. Peterman said loudly from the front of the shop as she wiped finger smudges off the doughnut display windows. “Just thinking about everything that happened this last year – and your sweet, little brother, God love him.”
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