Ethan Osborne

Mt. Zion eighth grader Ethan Osborne has a different set of challenges than his fellow members of the Braves' basketball team, but he contributes however he can and with a glad heart.

Join WAND's Gordon Voit every Wednesday for Hero of the Week, where Voit puts the spotlight on a member of the community who is demonstrating unusual character on and off the field!


Decatur, Ill. (WAND) -- Mt. Zion eighth grader Ethan Osborne could make excuses, like the fact he's less than half his peers' size or that he runs a little differently.

He was, after all, just 3 pounds at birth and adopted from Russia at 23 months old.

But you won't hear a peep from Ethan. He's just glad to be here.

The 70-pounder's size means being a member of the Braves' roster wasn't an option -- but coach Jeff Shumate wanted to find a way for Ethan to be a part of the program, so he offered for him to join the team as a manager.

He helps run the scoreboard at practice, sets up drills and even takes part in them when he can. It's not a role of reluctance for Ethan -- he relishes the part he gets to play on the team, scoreboard and all.

But Shumate and his teammates like Carson Cuddy and Nathan Hart wanted to get "E", as they call him, more actively involved.

That's when they devised a plan: suit him up for a game, and keep feeding him till he makes a shot.

In this WAND feature story, Ethan and his parents Kyle and Mandy share what it was like to watch their son go through this moment and the subsequent tidal wave of social media comments, likes and messages that ensued from his time in the spotlight.


Week 1: Shannon Roberts, MacArthur
Week 2: Fowler Connell, Danville
Week 3: Ken Leonard, Sacred Heart-Griffin
Week 4: Micah and Dennis Sheppard, Meridian
Week 5: Emily Short, Decatur
Week 6: Veterans and Friends golf 
Week 7: Dre Brown, Mike Dudek, Scotty Gilkey, Illinois/Eastern Illinois
Week 8: Demirjian Family of Decatur
Week 9: Donna Dulle, Mt. Pulaski
Week 10: Moe Dampeer
Week 11: Sister Jean, Loyola
Week 12: Reilly Fitzpatrick, Maroa-Forsyth
Week 13: Volunteers of Decatur Turkey Tournament
Week 14: Nick Allegretti, Illinois
Week 15: Taylorville Tornadoes
Week 16: Scotty Gilkey, Eastern Illinois


Week 1: Irina Yeakley, Decatur Christian
Week 2: Ethan Osborne, Mt. Zion Junior High

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