It was a beautiful September Sunday. It was the start of the National Football League season, couch On Deck and a drink in hand. All settled and relax for the day’s game and had Twitter in the palm of my hands so I can read tweets during commercial breaks. As the day went on, it was merely 75% NFL, 25% other on my twitter timeline. Life seemed good for those who got “America’s Popular Sport” back, but baseball is still my #1. During one of the commercial breaks, I read from a high school student regarding that a student was in a car accident. The more I read about it on my timeline, it was to simply to keep this kid and his family in your thoughts. Rightfully so I did. I always hope for everyone to come out alive in these situations. Hours later, the news seemed to get worse that this accident landed him in Intensive Care Unit. I really had my thoughts toward him. Once I found out the name, a flashback appeared for me. The name, it sounded familiar right off the bat. Brayden Thornbury.
I had only one occurrence with Brayden and it was nothing bad, but simply good. As a High School Senior in February 2011, the Little Miami National Honor Society hosted a charity dodgeball event at the high school. I was thrilled to have this game back in my life because it was never played in high school gym class. My squad had missing players and Brayden and his 8th grade classmate filled spots and were great fill ins. Unfortunately, I was a High School swimmer preparing for my career finale swim meet. The swim meet preparation cut in to this charity time and I was a captain for that squad and had to show up to practice, which there was nothing wrong with that. The next morning, I realized the dodgeball team I played on ended up winning the charity event. The TV ticker had the names of the winners with “B Thornbury” on it. I said to myself, “must of been one of those 8th graders”. A small event like that did not matter to me, but I thought it was cool to see my name on a TV ticker.
Since the name was so familiar, I wanted to simply observe the happenings on Social Media. Didn’t want a post a thing cause simply I did not know him well enough. I simply kept my thoughts towards him. As the week progress, I got to hear more about his life story. Students, close friends shared stories about Brayden and his Church presented themselves to Newsprint and TV Media. I wanted to listen because it was the right thing to do at the time.
One of the things that stood out to me in Brayden’s life is the missionary trip to Africa. Being a teen and going to Africa, I thought to myself, “wow, that’s unique”. Most people in the States that go to Africa are not teens, mostly late 20s early 30s at first. Some teens want to have the smartphone in their hands and text their friends all day. Brayden didn’t let that be his summer, he went out and made a difference. The missionary trip reminded me of a movie called “Airplane!”, when Ted Striker and Elaine Dickinson were in the World Peace Corp to introduce Western Culture. I’m not sure what was done in Uganda, Africa, but I’m sure he made an impact on their community.
For the people that know 80s movies.
For what everyone knows about Brayden are the sports and academics. Standout Athlete and Scholar Student is what I heard throughout News Media. Brayden’s sports were Football, Basketball and Lacrosse, according to Little Miami Schools. To balance those in a school year is very difficult. Trying to balance college and work is very difficult for me as well. In the end, Brayden managed to overcome that and excel in the classroom. I respect those who handle that challenge of balance.
Since Brayden’s passing on Friday, dedications have spread throughout the Cincinnati region. So many schools to account for, but all had one thing in common: Play 4 Bray. This event is something I’ve personally never seen. The amount of support for the community, Thornbury family have received was astounding. It helped the healing process of a difficult loss, and it shows one quote from the legend Will Ferrell “Everybody Love Everybody”, even school rivals chipped in for supporting the Little Miami community. I joined in the crowd as well.
In final turn, Brayden Thornbury’s life was simply amazing. Brayden has done more in 17 years of life than I have done in 22 years of my life. He has impacted thousands of families and friends and will always be watching your backs above the sky. His legacy was out there, and soon many will inspire to be like Brayden.
To Donate to the Thornbury Family, the Fellowship Baptist Church of Maineville, Ohio are collecting donations for the family. Checks can made by either the church or family and mailed to Fellowship Baptist Church, P.O. Box 219, Maineville, OH 45039. Checks should say “Thornbury family” on memo line.