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William Blazina walked across the field between his house and his father’s business Crossroads Outdoor Motor Sports out on Clarke Road and climbed on an ATV Quad parked under a covering where other machines and equipment were stored.

The 2018 Ellensburg High School graduate carefully backed out, meticulously avoiding several huge rounds of wood ready that would be split in the upcoming months of winter. He’s careful with the responsibility and off he went across the field to a pathway between the split rail fence out near the road.

GOING FAST

“I like to go fast,” he said with a mischievous grin coming to his face.

One man’s ceiling is another man’s floor and fast is what you think it is. Maybe it’s because his mother, Sam, was watching, maybe not, but he kept the throttle down. He drove the quad with a certain flare of someone that’s been in the seat before, carefully guiding the ATV around the property.

“He can drive a stick shift. He doesn’t have a driver’s license, so we keep him off the road. But he can drive the old Jeep, run it through the gears without grinding them,” Sam said in reference to one of the other vehicles parked along the business off in the distance.

STICK SHIFT

William, 22, has Down Syndrome, but maintains a fairly high-functioning lifestyle. He likes to work in his father Rob Blazina’s shop where he’s learning a little bit about mechanics. He likes to learn a little more about tools and their purpose.

“I think staying busy is important,” he said. “I do a lot of things. I really like working in the shop. I have a golf cart I take care of.”

“He helps with the cleaning, organizing the shop rags. We buy towels from goodwill and he cuts them into manageable sizes,” his father Rob said. “We’ve always had motorcycles and cars, even before we had the business. So, he’s been active in helping out.

“We go up to the hills and do some trail riding and he’s able to get around on his quad.”

ELMVIEW

William has been through the Elmview Reemployment Transitional Training program where he received various life skills training during his education. As it turns out, he’s a jack of all trades. William worked in the Basalt Restaurant in the Hotel Windrow as a member of the kitchen staff.

Turns out he has quite a sense of humor. He can make a joke as well as take one. When asked if he got to wear the chef’s hat, he just smiled and shook his head.

“That’s (chef) Kelley (Cook’s) job,” he said with a smile. “But I liked working there.”

He did a little bit of everything at the Basalt, Hotel Windrow managing partner Steve Townsend, but mostly worked as a dishwasher and did other chores around the kitchen.

“He’s a really good guy and was willing to do whatever needed to be done,” Townsend said. “We really liked him and we have great admiration for the work that Elmview does. When we closed restaurant because of the pandemic, we came back with a skeleton staff and there wasn’t any work for him. But we sure enjoyed having him on our staff.”

VARIOUS JOBS

William has worked at Goodwill, the Food Bank where he worked four days a week helping with Meals on Wheels. He’s also worked at Jerrol’s Bookstore.

“I really like helping people,” he said. “Sometimes I’d help with the food orders. I like to be of service.”

He lives a fairly independent life, used to take the HopeSource bus into town to work at Jerrol’s. Being able to do stuff on his own builds self esteem and he is growing as a man and enjoying the ride, he said. He likes to read, stuff like mechanical magazines, but doesn’t mind something just because it’s a good read.

He’s active in Special Olympics, tends to gravitate toward basketball and bowling.

ACTIVE IN SPORTS

“He’s a really good swimmer. I wish he’d get involved in Special Olympics swimming, but there doesn’t seem to be enough time,” Sam said.

“I’m a country guy,” William said, again with that infectious smile that really is a part of his personality. “We have been in this house for 16 years and I like it out here compared to the city.”

As he sat there listening intently to each question, his focus was on how best to describe what he was thinking. The Blazinas have a couple of dogs that were hanging around and a cat somewhere in hiding. When the question, “Are you a dog guy or a cat guy?” he did a double take, then thought about it.

He gave it serious consideration, then answered, “Both,” he said with a laugh. “We also have bunnies out back, so maybe I’m a cat, dog and bunny guy.”

The Ellensburg City Council has special sub committees meeting with various racial, ethnic and cultural groups throughout the city to make a report on how it can make Ellensburg a more inclusive community in order to do its part in a divided world.

Sam Blazina said the Down Syndrome community pretty much keeps to its own. But maybe through the efforts of Elmview and a receptive community willing to accept and make welcome various lifestyles, that can all change.

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