Each morning, we each get up, get dressed, and proceed with yet another day that has been piled on top of all the previous days. Bathroom. Shower. Breakfast. Coffee. Off we go. Every day much like the one before. Some of those days include work. An office. A shop. A classroom. A truck. A car. Pens, pencils, laptops. Airplanes and hotels. We do fun things. We do drudgery. We work. Some days, we go play. Movies, restaurants, sodas and beers. Hiking. Hunting. Fishing. We argue and fuss. We laugh and smirk. We debate politics and religion. We post on our social media. But in the end, today is much like yesterday.
Every once in a while, though, there’s a chance to be extraordinary. A chance to be the cream on top of the Pumpkin Spice Latte. An opportunity to be that shining light in a dark space. In October of 2020, that opportunity unexpectedly smacked Bryan in the face and he rose to the occasion. His wife had just had a baby. Stan, my brother-in-law, gave him two bottles—one to be opened to celebrate the first baby, and the second to be used to mourn at the first death he’d suffer in his life. He didn’t expect to need the second bottle so soon.
I met Bryan last weekend, almost a year to the day from that fateful day. He walked up to us on the sand along Virginia Beach. The day was hot. The sun was high. The breeze was light. He was big as life. He was there to judge a fishing contest—and to bring some sunlight into the hearts of our family.
You see, he’d been on that beach one year earlier when my brother-in-law suffered a ruptured aorta while fishing with his club, the Virginia Beach Anglers Club. Bryan didn’t faulter. He didn’t hesitate. Rather, he leapt into action. He physically carried Stan off the beach, no easy task on that sand, placed him in his car, and raced him to the hospital. Without Bryan, my brother-in-law would not have had a chance. Ultimately, Stan passed, but Bryan gave all he could to give him a shot. He took a man on his shoulders, literally, and became something special to a family not his own.
I was there on October 2nd this year with Stan’s family, gathered on the beach to attend the Stan L. Sutliff Memorial Fishing Tournament. Most of us hadn’t seen one another in a very long time. COVID, you know. We were loving one another and yet, mourning, too. Bryan was there for us, checking in on us, talking with us. Later, he joined us for dinner, bringing his toddler that had just been born the year before.
My only purpose in writing this blog is to say “Thank you” in my own way to someone who stepped up and became extraordinary on an ordinary day. Thank you, Bryan. You’re an extraordinary hero to us and I think you have a new family in more ways than one.
Michael DeCamp is a husband, father, uncle, son, and brother. He built a career in industrial sales while maintaining a spiritual life in pursuit of a love for God. He has published two fantasy thrillers, one collection of supernatural/fantasy short stories, and one devotional book. (There are more on the way.) He also produces a podcast (The Cutters Notch Podcast) that provides a new episode approximately once per month.