April 11, 2014

Citizen of the Week: Jonathan Rose

The Daily Citizen

— Running for exercise is a popular hobby among many local residents, but at least one racing enthusiast plans to take his fun a step further today.

Jonathan Rose, a third-grade teacher at New Hope Elementary School, will be pushing one of his students in a jogging stroller during this year’s Run for God — Run at the Mill half-marathon this morning. When the start gun goes off at 7 a.m., Rose will be behind 9-year-old Caleb Browder, a north Dalton resident who has cerebral palsy.

Caleb’s mother, Aletha Browder, said Rose and her son have been training together at least since February. She said the venture started after Rose learned about a father-son team who complete marathons together around the country and decided he could do something similar. Caleb has mobility limitations and is unable to speak normally but can make sounds indicating what he wants.

Browder said she and her husband, Shane, are happy and honored Rose wanted to run with Caleb.

“They have grown so much closer because they’ve been training at least once a week,” she added.

They make treks up and down Cleveland Highway. They run “The Loop” around Walnut Avenue, Tibbs Road and College Drive. They run at Edwards Park. They tried out different routes as Rose worked to build his own mileage and stamina in preparation for the big day. They did all of it with Rose behind a three-wheeled stroller adapted for Caleb’s needs.

“I’ve always wanted Caleb to be out there and accepted and to do things,” his mother said. “This is like a dream come true. It’s just an awesome feeling to know somebody would be willing to do that.”

As for Caleb, “he loves it,” Browder said.

For going beyond what he had to do as a teacher, and for his care and concern for a young boy, The Daily Citizen names Jonathan Rose Citizen of the Week.