"One of the guys": UK fraternity inducts man with Down Syndrome

Josh Banks and Brack Duncan hang out every Friday at the FarmHouse Fraternity.

LEXINGTON-- Two best friends from Winchester are putting together some dance moves. They have a big performance coming up later this spring.

Brack Duncan is the teacher. He's been a competitive dancer since he was in grade school and for the past four years, he's also worked with adults with special needs, helping them develop social skills.

"I think there's a reason for every characteristic and ability you haev," the University of Kentucky senior said. "It's just finding out how to use it."

Duncan thought Josh Banks would find his abilities if he were around people more, so he started taking him to hang out with his FarmHouse fraternity brothers at UK. It became their Friday thing-- playing pool, watching TV and going out to lunch-- ice-breaking moments for both the college students and this 33-year-old man.

Duncan said it wasn't long before everyone was taking Banks under their wings.

One of Banks' favorite things to do is ride in trucks, singing along with country music, something Duncan enjoys, too.

"Not even talking so much in those moments, but just being and existing, and just letting him do his thing, and letting the joy he gets out of that spread onto me and pour out onto others."

Last fall, the fraternity's president got the idea to make Banks a member. The brothers approved by a unanimous vote. That makes Banks the first person with Down Syndrome to ever be inducted into a social organization at UK. As far as Duncan can determine, he's also the only such member at any university in the nation.

Banks is called an "associate member" only because he's not a student. But FarmHouse president Ben Bohannon said Banks has all the rights and privileges as any other member.

"You look for honesty, integrity, spirituality," Bohannon said. "Josh whole-heartedly wants to make those around him better. That's what pushed him over the edge for us and let us know he belonged here."

The induction ceremony was emotional, something each brother will remember. When the next FarmHouse composite picture comes out, Banks will be included.

" It really is a big step in history," Duncan said. "not only for the special needs community but for all of society and the world just to see this inclusion and witness love in its purest form."

After Duncan and Banks get their dance moves down. they'll teach the routine to the other FarmHouse members for an upcoming Greek talent show.

Banks said he's not nervous and he's happy to play the role of teacher.

He's just one of the guys--a fraternity man who doesn't take classes, but gets an A in friendship.

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