2020 was a challenging year for many and we want to take a moment to send our love and thoughts to the millions affected by Covid-19 and express our deepest gratitude to the doctors, nurses and others on the front lines that have worked so tirelessly across the world.
When 2020 started, Forrest was busy attending classes on campus at George Mason University. As Covid spread, GMU switched to virtual learning and Forrest finished the school year from home. Daily online learning was challenging at times without the in-person support that has been a big part of the Mason Life program, but Forrest successfully completed the year. In fact, with the help of GMU Life's support staff Forrest received an A in Biology! With social distancing and quarantines in place, like many others, Forrest often found himself a bit lonely and looking for things to do to pass the time.
He began helping out more around the family farm, BrightWood, spending time with his horse, O'Riley, and taking on a large portion of the mowing and weed-wacking throughout the summer. Forrest also became the primary caretaker for 3 sheep who temporarily moved to the farm to helped with some of the grass and brush eating during the summer months.
Forrest began photography lessons with Sharon Hallman, who has been a huge part of photo-documenting his story and the amazing A Place To Be community. Sharon has helped Forrest look at the world around him with an artist's appreciation for color, light composition and beauty.
Weekly guitar lessons also helped Forrest connect to others and stretch his creativity through exercises, jam sessions and song writing with his teacher, Brandon.
Despite the limitations of Covid, Forrest was able to reach a huge milestone during the summer. He passed his drivers test and received his drivers license - and a new car that he named "Sweetness"! He has enjoyed the new freedom that this has brought and has also enjoyed being able to help run errands for the family.
In July, Forrest and Rae traveled to Cleveland for another successful surgery on Forrest's Noggin' with Dr. Kumar, who wanted to revise the surgical scar and add some additional bone graft to strengthen the site. This was the first time in over 30 surgical procedures, Forrest had surgery on an Out Patient basis. He was only in the hospital a matter of hours!
With Covid numbers still high as fall rolled in, Forrest decided to take a gap year from school. This did allow him to spend time reconnecting with his brother fishing in NC.
And to travel to Hawaii in November to help Mum out at Dolphin Quest which was understaffed due to Covid. They had to take many precautions before, during and after travel and were thankful for a safe and healthy trip.
One of the biggest highlights of the year came on Forrest's birthday in December, when "Music Got Me Here", the documentary that chronicles Forrest and Tom's story was released on Apple, iTunes and Amazon!
A mini surprise virtual launch party helped ring in his birthday and celebrate the momentous occasion of being able to share the film across the US!
While anxiously awaiting his hopeful return to GMU in the fall, Forrest recently started working not one, but two jobs! He sorts the Dolphin Quest mail that comes to the local post office and then delivers the mail to the necessary people and places. And, after years of golfing at Bull Run Golf Course with his physical therapist Del, Forrest got a job there! They have been following his progress through Del and awaiting the day that Forrest was ready for a job. He enjoys his days at the club, helping clean and prep the golf carts, prep the course and pick up golf balls.