North Park University Student Honored by 'Good Morning America'

Marcus Crone on Good Morning America
Marcus Crone, center, was honored on Good Morning America April 9. With him is GMA co-host George Stephanopoulos, left; Mary McComb, second from right, and Crone's prom date, Chelsea McComb, right. (Good Morning America video)

Freshman Marcus Crone recognized for special prom invitation

CHICAGO (April 11, 2012) — Marcus Crone, a freshman at North Park University, Chicago, was stunned April 9 on national TV when Good Morning America named him a winner of the Disney Memory Maker contest for an act of kindness — in which he invited a girl with Down syndrome to her prom last spring after she had been turned down by another young man.

Crone is a member of Crossroads Community Church, an Evangelical Covenant Church (ECC) congregation in Yelm, Wash., and a staff member at the ECC's Cascades Camp and Conference Center. North Park University is affiliated with the ECC.

Crone and his mother, Stephanie, were part of the crowd outside the taping of the show when he and several others were called to step forward and told they had been named winners. Each winner was awarded a trip to a Disney theme park.

One of the show’s hosts, George Stephanopoulos, then told Crone, "Your story is so amazing. You had us all just welled up." Stephanopoulos had another surprise: Crone's prom date, Chelsea McComb, and her mother, Mary, appeared from the crowd, and ran to hug Crone.

In a videotaped segment recorded before the presentation, Chelsea said the prom "was the best moment in my entire life."

"He made her feel like Cinderella that night," said Mary, adding that her daughter had never had a date. "When they walked out to the car, I truly, truly don’t believe her feet touched the ground."

Crone, who did not know he had been nominated, was chosen from among several thousand entries. Another member of the Crossroads congregation — Mary McComb — nominated him.

Crone’s mother, Stephanie, was in on the ruse to get him to New York City. She told her son that she had won a contest called Whisk Your Mom Away that awarded her the opportunity to travel and take a family member. The two were treated to limousine service, tickets to live performances, and to Good Morning America.

In an interview, Crone, a former high school state wrestling champion, said, "It was a blessing for me to be able to have the opportunity to take Chelsea to the prom. We danced the entire time. It was so much fun."

Crone says he hopes it can be arranged for Chelsea and her family to travel to Disney World with his family.

The North Park student said he hopes to delay his sophomore year by serving in Asia, Africa, and South America, as part of a mission trip experience with Adventures in Missions.

"Marcus has just been just a key kid in our youth group prior to going to North Park. He would champion youth group Bible study and bring kids left and right," said Crossroads Pastor Russell Blake.

Stan Friedman, news editor for the Evangelical Covenant Church, Chicago, is the writer of this article.

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