In October of 1962 a young man was born. From the day he took his first breath, he was a fighter. His young life started out rough. Although surrounded by the love of his parents and three older siblings, he was faced with obstacles.
His parents were told that he would probably never walk, he would always be handicapped. But, this young man did not understand the stigma of the labels he was given. He learned to get from point A to point B. It may have taken him a bit longer, but he persevered.
A little over a year passed and along came his new baby sister. Although a toddler himself, the young man took it upon himself to become her guardian, her champion against the evils of the world.
That young man is my brother Scott. I do not remember him keeping me from toddling out into the street. Nor do I remember him chasing away dogs who came too close to me while I played in the yard. It was many years later that my Mom shared the stories with me.
I do remember my brother stepping in and staring down bullies on the playground at school. I also remember his brave face when young children would laugh about his deformed chest. They had no idea that his chest bone protruded to hold his giant heart. A heart that is more full of love than you and I.
No one pushed him to overcome his handicaps. He just did it! He pulled himself up and walked, and then ran!
My brother seemed to always be near when I needed him. He spent hours throwing a baseball with me in the yard. When I went for long runs, he would ask me to hold on so that he could grab his shoes. He didn’t want me out running alongside the highway by myself.
Scott could out run me, because he worked out much harder than I ever did. Yet, he simply ran beside me and kept me company.
If one were to look at him today, with the exception of his chest, you would never know all that he overcame. And that is what he was hoping for when he went to the Army recruiting center. He wanted to put on the uniform like Dad, and our two older brothers and serve…
He passed everything with excellent marks, everything but the heart test. A pronounced murmur crushed his dream. That was more than twenty years ago. I am happy to say that my brother did not let the rejection slow him down. He has gone on to run in several grueling 26-27 mile marathons.
He is still my champion!
No longer a young boy keeping the wolves at bay during my high school dating fiascos, he now has a family of his own. A family that is blessed with his strength and love.
Last year he fought another battle, a battle against cancer. And like every battle he has faced, again he is the victor!
I am a little late Bro…
But, I love you and wish you a very Happy Birthday. You truly are a fantastic man and Soldier in every sense of the word.