Bryan, Rena and Baylor Johnston have been extra special members of the WCTE family since 1994. We were brought together when their son, Sawyer Bryan, who was no older than 6 months, became enthralled with music. Not just any music, but that special kind of music that is performed by soft, furry creatures. For him, his relationship with Sesame Street was love at first sight!
Sawyer was born with health issues and was not as active as most babies his age. He was happiest listening to and watching Elmo, Grover or Bert and Ernie make their special kind of magic. Several stints in the hospital seemed to strengthen his love for Sesame Street- It was his security blanket and everyone, including the nursing staff that cared for him, insisted that he would have it.
When Sawyer passed away at 17 months old, the Johnston’s friends and family wanted to honor Sawyers’ precious life. They felt that the best way to do that was apparent- they wanted to acknowledge what he enjoyed and loved- his favorite furry friends.
That’s how Stations of Imagination came into existence.
The Johnston family partnered with WCTE to provide the community with a free, fun, family day to honor Sawyer and all the children that love PBS children’s programming. When it came to naming the event, it was really quite simple. The Johnston family had a vision of a great event where the children would have small, hands-on stations where they could come, play and pretend all the while using their imagination.
Since 1995, the Johnston family and their friends have been with WCTE in heart and mind while donating their love and time to continue this tradition. “It has surpassed all of our original hopes we have had for Stations,” said Rena Johnston, “it will never outgrow the joy it brings to our family.” Baylor Johnston along with her cousins and friends have grown up singing, working, laughing and remembering Sawyer and his special, furry friends each year at Fall Fun Fest.
“So thank you, PBS family, from your greatest fans, Sawyer’s family.”
Stations of Imagination will again be at Fall Fun Fest on September 5 & 6 on the square in Cookeville. Come and enjoy this free family event and help us to celebrate what Sawyer and his family loved so much.
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