Michael Wayne O'Neill is known as Mr. Union County. If you live in our county, undoubtedly you have heard of his name. It wasn't long after I started up UnioNCounty Football eight years ago that I became familiar with and ultimately friends with Michael and his great spirit of life and faith that embodies every fiber of his being.
Michael is a constant reminder that despite the rough patches we all face in life, there is a way to confront obstacles with love and faith.
The passion Michael has for this county, imparticular all of the athletic events that are played by our public, charter and private schools here in the UC as I like to refer to it, has no equal.
Yesterday, I attended the eighth annual Score 1 For Spencer event at Wingate University. The Score 1 for Spencer Flag Football Tournament started as a fundraising event in remembrance of Spencer Griffin a Piedmont middle schooler who lost his battle with cancer in May of 2012.
I have covered this special event for many years, but this will be remembered fondly by me because of the courage and conviction of my friend who graduated from Porter Ridge in 2018 and is currently attending CPCC as a freshman.
He addressed a large gathering at Wingate University's Irwin Belk Stadium and recited a poem that he wrote. "The Miracle of Autism" was featured on WCNC last month. It was that broadcast that made Michael a bigger star beyond the borders of our county.
Michael's recent "fame" hasn't changed him one bit. He continues to exude a passion for life and sports and never tires from making new friends and acquaintances. (Poem and video below)
Autism is a Miracle by Michael Wayne O'Neill
Autism is a sunflower because it grows like a heart.
It does not bring disenchantment but bundles of love.
Does it allow people to see the captivation in themselves?
Yes, because Autism brights up the blue, blue world.
Autism is a sunshine because it implants happiness in all people.
It is not darkness that limits the world from spinning.
It is a triumphant significance of events that sets an individual to see light. Therefore, Autism is motivation to go far beyond the small circle.
Autism is a blessing because God made it special for people diagnosed under the spectrum. It is not a puzzle piece that is transformed into a serious label. It allows people to see who they really are meant to be.
Autism prepares individuals to be lovable, diligent and precious souls.
Autism is a MIRACLE because it changed my identity from antisocial to truly-known. It said that I was a failure; I prove the devil wrong every day. It prevented me to water happiness in people; I implant faith in others everywhere I go. It made me socially weak; I am Proud to say that Autism made me stronger.