Turtle Wing Foundation was founded in memory and honor of Jackson Allan, who was born on May 15th, 2001 to Chris and DeeAnn (Fike) Hooper. Jack was not a typical child, he was remarkable. At age 6, Jack was diagnosed with high-functioning Autism. This disorder was the cause of his odd social behaviors and difficulties with comprehension and attention. For most children, these socially appropriate behaviors develop naturally. But for Jack, it was something he had to learn. Jack was very smart but he usually had to study for hours, every night, just to make passing grades. School and other activities caused a lot of anxiety and frustration through the years but he always did well, he made us so very proud.
On April 5th 2011, Jack died suddenly. The autopsy report concluded that the cause of death was “a viral-like syndrome of unknown etiology.”
For those of us who spent time with Jack and really got to know him, his greatest gift was that he made all of us better. He kept us on our toes. His teachers and coaches would say they are better at what they do because of their experience with Jack.
Because of Jack, we are more tolerant, more patient and less judgmental. He has caused us to look at each other through God’s eyes. In reality, it was God who made the decision to work through Jack in a special, quirky kind of way. We are blessed that he was in our lives for almost 10 years.
Having children with Autism is very challenging. After getting the diagnosis we did not know what to do or where to start. Our life became a life of searching for answers and wondering if we were doing enough for Jack each and every day. We have spent tens of thousands of dollars on all types of therapy including, behavioral therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, auditory therapy, gluten-free/casein-free diets, you name it and we probably have done it.
We have founded Turtle Wing to help families, not only families affected by Autism, all families. In our rural communities we have limited resources. Then you throw in a child who has ADHD or dyslexia or Aspergers or Down Syndrome or a child who just needs extra help in Math.
The name of the foundation had to represent Jack. After Jack passed away, all of Jack's friends remembered that he loved the color green and he loved turtles. Therefore, his family started receiving tons of notes, letters and drawings from Jack's friends with turtles all over them. And "wing" represents Heaven; Jack is soaring with the angels. Figuratively, Turtle Wing wants to help all children sprout wings and and fly academically and socially, allowing them to become the best they can be. When you think about turtles, most people envision slow and timid traits but in reality turtles symbolize wisdom and everlasting life. A perfect depiction of Jack!
I just wanted to share this drawing. Pam Vrazel, Jack’s 2nd grade teacher, was getting her classroom ready for the new school year and found some of Jack’s papers (these papers were from 2009). If you can’t read it, it says:
"A turtle with wings I call it a turtle bird and it fly and it swims and it likes me and it likes to play a Nintendo DS
and it likes to eat bugs."
The name turtle wing came to me while driving home one day, almost a year ago…it stems from Jack’s love of turtles and “wing” for heaven and our mission to help children become the best they can be.
This wonderful drawing is a gift from God, telling me Turtle Wing Foundation is divinely inspired
and that I have to keep it going. After Will (Jack's younger brother) read it, he said
“God told Jack”….smart boy! GOD IS SO GOOD!!!!
Thank you all for your support and continue to keep Turtle Wing in your prayers.