Entrepreneur with Down Syndrome Honored by NYS Legislature

Community Member

March 27, 2022

Originally published in Patch on March 27, 2022.

On Monday, John Cronin, co-founder of John’s Crazy Socks, had a day he will remember for the rest of his life. The New York State Legislature took time on World Down Syndrome Day to pass a resolution celebrating John and John’s Crazy Socks. John brought together Democrats and Republicans, Upstaters and Downstaters in a moment of celebration and recognition of what people with differing abilities can do. John truly spread happiness among the New York State Legislature.

John said, “Yes, I have Down syndrome, but Down syndrome never holds me back.”

The resolution was the idea of Assemblyman Steve Stern-D and Assemblyman Jarett Gandolfo-R. Both men had visited John’s Crazy Socks and supported the company’s efforts to show what people with differing abilities can do. On World Down Syndrome Day, they wanted to honor an entrepreneur, advocate, public speaker, philanthropist, and athlete who happens to have Down syndrome. They worked with the leadership in the State Senate and Assembly to make the resolution a reality. 

(To see pictures and videos from the event, click here.)

Meeting with Legislators

John and Mark X. Cronin, his father and partner, spent the morning meeting with individual legislators to discuss ways to support people with differing abilities and to encourage more firms to employ them. Those meeting included as session with long-time friend of the firm, State Senator Jim Gaughran, who has known John for 15 years, and new friends Senators Anna Kaplan, John Brooks and Mario Mattera. Senator Mattera presented John with his State Senator pin.

Addressing the Press and the Issues

John and Mark then met with Assemblymen Stern and Gandolfo on the Million Dollar Staircase where dozens of other legislators joined them for a press event. John thanked the legislators and praised his colleagues whom he said, “work so hard to show the world what people with differing abilities can do.”

John had given out pairs of this Down Syndrome Awareness Socks to celebrate World Down Syndrome Day and many of the members of the Legislature worker their socks to the event.  

Mark addressed the group and the cameras by talking about the power of entrepreneurship. “John had a dream and has turned that dream into the world’s largest sock store, but we do more than sell socks. We use our business as a platform to show what people with differing abilities can achieve when given an opportunity.” Mark also spoke of their Giving Back program that has raised over $500,000 for their charity partners including the Special Olympics and National Down Syndrome Society. “Do not be blinded by a person’s limitations,” he said, “be awed by their possibilities.”

John Meets the New York State Assembly

Shortly after 2:30 p.m., Assemblymen Stern and Gandolfo led John and Mark onto the floor of the State Assembly. Assemblyman Stern introduced them to the Assembly and Speaker Carl Heastie welcomed John. The State Assembly Members then rose to give John a standing ovation.

John said, “I thought my Dad was going to cry, he was so happy.”

Assemblywoman Mary Beth Walsh introduced the resolution and read it to the members who unanimously approved it.

Soon, individual Assembly members lined up to have their photographs taken with John. Assemblyman Gandolfo said, “This is the best day the Assembly has had all year. John has brought everyone together and put a smile on our faces.”

John said, “I know that happiness depends on two things: gratitude and doing for others. This day made me so happy. It makes me want to do more and more to help other people.”

About John’s Crazy Socks

John’s Crazy Socks was inspired by John Lee Cronin, a young man with Down syndrome, and his love of colorful and fun socks—what he calls his “crazy socks.” He and his father, Mark X. Cronin, started the company as a social enterprise with a mission of Spreading Happiness™. They do this by offering socks people can love that allows an expression of one’s true self. More than half their employees have a differing ability, and their Giving Back program has raised over $500,000 for charity partners like the Special Olympics, the National Down Syndrome Society and the Autism Society of America. Most of all, they are Spreading Happiness™. 

For more information about John’s Crazy Socks, visit our webpageFacebook pageInstagram account or YouTube channel. You can also contact us at 631-760-5625 or via email at service@johnscrazysocks.com.