Hometown Hero works to raise awareness of autism struggles

Mike's oldest son was diagnosed with autism. Since then, he has merged his love for music with the Autism Awareness cause.

Mike's oldest son, David, was diagnosed with autism a few years ago. Since then, he has merged his love for music with the Autism Awareness cause.


WARREN, Ohio (WYTV) – April is Autism Awareness Month, and to celebrate, this Hometown Hero is planning a party next weekend.

Last year, Mike Owens set the world record for marathon drumming — 24 hours non-stop. It was all for a good cause.

Mike’s oldest son, David, was diagnosed with autism a few years ago. Since then, he has merged his love for music with the Autism Awareness cause.

“I knew nothing of autism before David was diagnosed. My life has changed ever since,” Mike said.

Mike’s efforts caught the attention of the Mikeyfied Fund for Adult Autism, a local nonprofit resource for families with autistic young adults. Mike joined the Mikeyfied Fund’s Board of Directors and is working toward providing a state-of-the-art facility in the area for people with autism who can’t stay in their homes or live independently.

Mike’s wife, Amanda, explained the hurdles facing parents with autistic young adults.

“Once these children age out of the system and become adults, they lose a lot of services,” she said.

Mike’s aunt, Marge Hreno, nominated him for the award.

“I didn’t realize what the parents had to go through and I was just so impressed. It takes special kind of people and parenting,” she said.

Mike organized this year’s fundraiser, The Blue Daze event features two days of country and rock music at the Warren amphitheater to raise money for Mikeyfied.

Danny Cesene works with Mike and sums up this hero.

“Mike is an extraordinary individual. You take a little ordinary and put in a little extra and you get extraordinary,” he said. “Mike is a guy of detail and puts a lot of time and effort into people.”

If you would like info about next weekend’s music festival at the Warren Amphitheatre, check out the site mikeyfiedfund.org.