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December 17, 2013

WALLACE STATE BASEBALL: Manager Justin Holmes handles multiple responsibilities, but special bond with brother comes first

HANCEVILLE — Like many college students, Wallace State sophomore Justin Holmes juggles a heavy course load and a full-time job. His responsibilities don’t end there. Holmes is also serving as the Lions’ baseball manager for a second season, but the time he cherishes most is spent with his brother, Jacob.

Justin and Jacob’s bond is unique. Sure, most brothers may live together and look out for each other in college, but the Holmes’ connection is different. Jacob was born with a mild case of Asperger’s Syndrome,  which limits him in certain capacities, including driving. Therefore, when Jacob needs a ride to get some lunch, groceries or to get away from the men’s dormitories, Justin is on the spot.

Jacob insists, though, that he’s very self-sufficient and prefers walking around campus more than asking his brother for a ride.

“I like to be independent. I know where I need to go on campus. I like to go to class by myself,” Jacob said. “If I need to find my brother, I usually guess where he is.”

Both Holmes’ boys grew up in Arley and attended Meek High. When Justin left home to head to Wallace State in August 2012, it was the first time he and Jacob didn’t live together.

“I really did miss him last year. I didn’t see much of him because I was always up here on campus and especially busy during baseball season. I took it for granted over the years that he was always around,” said Justin, who celebrated his 20th birthday Tuesday. “That’s why I realize I need to spend as much time with him as I can because I may not be around next year if I go off to another school.”

Jacob, a freshman, and Justin became roommates at Wallace State this past August.

A week before the fall semester started, Justin made it a priority to make sure Jacob was familiar with the Wallace State campus landscape, pointing out the places his brother may deem important. 

“The first day we had moved in (to the dorms), I drove Jacob around campus to show him where certain buildings are. I made sure to show him where the library and student center were and the buildings where his classes  would be,” Justin said. “Jacob loves to fend for himself. Since Jacob is so independent and doesn’t like to ask for help, I made sure to show him the best sidewalks to take to get to class the fastest.”

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