I am the owner of Blake’s Snow Shack in Sanger, Texas. Some may say that I am an example of a hardworking man that wanted to start my own business, but truly, I simply wanted to bring delicious snow to my community of Sanger.

My story starts in 1996, when my mom and dad, Billy and Mary Ann Pyron brought me into the world and soon thereafter we’re told I had Down syndrome. They were told often of all the things I “wouldn’t be able to do” or “couldn’t do”, but still they raised me with love, God and lots of perseverance. Soon they started to see all the things I “would do” and “could do” in the future. My childhood had its obstacle like anyone’s childhood, but I proved resilient with what my mom says is my infectious smile and heart of gold. In high school everyone knew I was going places. I was two-time captain of the Varsity football team, Prom King and Texas citizen of the year! However, little did anyone expect I’d bring snow to Sanger.

It was the Summer of 2015 and a very exciting time for my family as I was graduating high school. With that excitement was also nerves of “what’s next for Blake?” I was working at a local BBQ restaurant but they were closing, so I needed to find employment elsewhere. My family and I spent the summer researching options. We knew that I loved my customers and friends at the BBQ restaurant, so my family and I knew the business would need to be downtown Sanger for me to continue developing those relationships.

As you might expect, Texas is a very hot state and Texans love snow cones. So as a family, we did our homework and decided a snow cone stand was indeed a viable business for us. Since day one, I was thrilled. I picked out the concession trailer, presented my business plan to the City of Sanger, and haven’t looked back.

The grand opening of Blake’s Snow Shack was on Mother’s Day weekend 2016, and it was a success, with a crowd of more than 1000 people. Since then we’ve had numerous TV interviews and even had Blake’s Snow Shack logo on a NASCAR that ran this last month at Pocono. My small town business has been featured on international news, appeared in the Huffington Post, A&E Latinoamerica, Unworthy, Reddit and even on the Today Show Australia. And my business has been recognized by Texas Governor Greg Abbott, Texas Senator Ted Cruz and the US Senate.

This #NationalEntrepreneurshipMonth, I want to thank my parents, Billy and Mary Ann Pyron for always believing in me and teaching me to believe in myself. Blake’s Snow Shack and my dream of bringing snow to Sanger couldn’t have happened without them. I love being Blake of Blake’s Snow Shack, a role that gives me the opportunity to bring a smile and some snow to all my customers and friends. Not to mention, I’m showing the world that those with Down Syndrome don’t just make great employees, but also successful business owners when given the chance.

My family and I want all self-advocates, like me, to have the opportunity to follow their entrepreneurship dreams, so in 2016 we established the NDSS #DSWORKS® Blake Pyron Entrepreneurship Scholarship. The scholarship will be awarded  at the 2016 Buddy Walk® on Washington for a  self-advocate to pursue their dreams and aspirations of starting their own business.

Thank you for reading my story and I hope it showed you that anything is possible— even snow in Sanger.