Cheryl Gries Brown Class of 1972

A 1972 Hicksville High School graduate, Cheryl Gries married her high school sweetheart, Clint Brown (HHS, Class of 1971) in 1977.  At the time, Cheryl worked for Lufthansa and Clint for Cablevision. Currently, Cheryl is a Passenger Service Representative and Clint is Area Operations Manager.

In 1981, they were blessed with their only child, Clinton Brown III (affectionately known as CB3), who was born with diastrophic dysplasia, a rare form of dwarfism.  Cheryl has said that when Clinton came into their lives, she began to look at life differently.  She and Clint spent numerous days and months in hospitals where Clinton underwent 30 surgeries.

Throughout life, they assisted him and were by his side as he developed skills to make his own way in a world designed for people of taller stature.  Receiving unconditional support from family, friends, co-workers, doctors, nurses and acquaintances, Cheryl found purpose and meaning to her life.  She found the value of giving back.

As Cheryl’s friend since 9th grade, I can honestly say she was doing just that all along, she just didn’t realize it!  Cheryl’s kindness and generosity of spirit was a huge part of who she was even as a teenager.   She and Clint taught their son, by example, to be a caring, giving and productive human being.

Cheryl taught her son well.  The Brown’s became active with the Little People of America (LPA), a national non-profit organization that provides support, resources and information to people of short stature and their families.  The LPA is also dedicated to improving the quality of life for people with dwarfism throughout their lives, while celebrating with pride Little People’s contribution to social diversity

Together, Cheryl and Clinton worked tirelessly and were able to raise well over $130,000 to support the LPA’s annual conference held this past July on the Brooklyn waterfront.  As a result of Cheryl’s involvement in the LPA, Clinton has become a very active member of the Long Island chapter.  Aside from LPA, Cheryl also supported the “Little People’s Research Fund” and the Empire State Games for the Physically Challenged.  Both of these organizations are close to Cheryl and Clint’s heart and assist people and families of individuals with physical disabilities reach their potential.

Young Clinton is now a 28-year-old business analyst at Cablevision.  A young man with a huge personality, Clinton has appeared on telethons for Variety – The Children’s Charity and has won an Emmy award as a 12 year old for his work as host for a WPIX documentary named “Walk a Mile in My Shoes” in 1993.  Clinton ’s life as a sports fanatic started when Cheryl would take him for walks in Cantiague Park to help him rehab after surgeries.  They’d get their exercise, watch the New York Islanders practice, and would make life long friends with many of the Islanders.

He is a worldwide competitor in the Dwarf Athletic Association Of America organization.  At the 2009 LPA convention, Clinton put together the New York Towers – a basketball team consisting of Little People.

As president and General Manager, he encourages the team to “educate, inspire and motivate” others by displaying their talents on the court and talking about life lessons off the court.  One of the team motto’s is “Losers make excuses, Winners find solutions.”  Clinton is carrying on his mother’s love and enthusiasm for life in such a positive way.  He and Cheryl also work together to raise funds for the New York Towers with fundraisers at Governor’s Comedy Club in Levittown . (www.nytowersbasketball.com)

Cheryl’s influence continues to have a ripple effect.  Her zest for life is contagious and anyone whose life she touches is a better person for it.  Cheryl Gries Brown epitomizes the type of person that Hicksville wants to send out into the world.  And, fortunately for Hicksville , she has remained in the neighborhood where she grew up.