Sandoval firefighter with Down syndrome stays with department after officials apologize for bullying

SANDOVAL, Ill. - The story of the firefighter with Down syndrome who was bullied and resigned has now come full circle.

It all unfolded at the Sandoval Illinois Fire Protection District. Mary Kay Eagan-Robbins is the aunt of 35-year-old Jason Eagan, “I’m not sure if it was about the down syndrome, he was bullied about or it was just he had downs syndrome and he was on the receiving end of someone picking on him it went too far,” said Eagan.

Eagan was back at the volunteer fire department Monday.  His family says he was bullied over a couple month period, a slur was used behind Jason’s back and a firefighter made sure Jason didn’t get a call if there was a fire.  The aunt said, “I would think it was somebody who would have an upper hand over him that thought it was funny to do that too him. Jason Eagan said, “It’s not right. Madden: It’s not right to be picked on if you have down syndrome? Eagan: Yeah. Madden: Did it hurt your feelings? Eagan: Yes.”

The story spread quickly around the world.  People offered support to Jason.

His aunt met with fire officials.  She said she was told one firefighter resigned and another may do so.  Firefighters apologized to Jason and his family.

“We just want to move forward we don’t want the backlash on the fire department…they’ve been good to Jason,” said Mary Kay Eagan-Robbins.

It appears firefighters love Jason, he said they’re like his family, his brothers.   Jason said, “It’s my dream to be a firefighter.”

Jason’s family will make sure firefighters are kind to Jason and family members plan to keep an eye on the situation.  People have wanted to set up a GoFundMe page.  The family said they don’t want that, they just want Jason to be a happy part of the Sandoval Fire Department.

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