James’ special play leads to a special gift

James Dutkowsky, a senior who has Down syndrome, scored a touchdown on a special play before Masuk High School’s football game against New Milford under the lights of Benedict Stadium Field on Senior Night on Nov. 10.

A man was so moved by the show of sportsmanship after reading the story on The Monroe Sun, that he anonymously made a gift for him. He matted James’ No. 61 football jersey and placed it inside a frame with “Dutkowsky” etched into it.

The frame is also adorned with a photo of James in uniform.

Masuk Principal Steve Swensen, who helped the man obtain the jersey, presented the wrapped gift to James in teacher Marie Blake’s class Wednesday morning.

James opened it in front of his parents, Steve and Lisa, and his classmates. Steve knew about the presentation ahead of time, but James and his mother had no idea.

James Dutkowsky, right, with his father, Steve, after scoring a touchdown before Masuk’s game about New Milford on Senior Night.

“I am so surprised,” Lisa said afterward. “It’s a wonderful, lovely shock. It’s just such a special gesture for a special kid and this is a long time coming. He’s been playing football for 10 years. It’s a great cherry on top of his football career.”

Lisa expressed her gratitude to the man who anonymously made the gift for her son.

“We’re very grateful to the staff at Masuk for helping to make this happen for James,” she added. “Principal Swensen and the special education department have always worked hard to make sure James is involved and included in so many activities. It means the world to us as his parents.”

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