Inspiring story of botherly love

By Breck Hapner

June 10, 2014

By Mariann M. Main

This past week has been one of angry losers; poor behavior, a deadly car accident involving a famous comedian caused by a dosing Walmart truck driver, and continued senseless loss of life in multiple U.S. cities from gun violence. Often what I hear and observe in our society causes me angst. Good news is a rarity. People behaving badly, is the focus of today’s media, and sadly there is never a loss of events to report.

A married couple killed two Las Vegas policemen while the officers were having lunch. A Seminole County, Florida young man pointed a laser beam at a police helicopter earlier this week, which can only make me question, why? After all of my mental health training, I am at a loss to understand the actions of so many. Have we become a sadistic society or just bored thrill-seekers?

The most alarming event was the Saturday morning shooting of two Las Vegas police officers sitting in a restaurant. They were not executed by a deranged young man with mental illness, as has been the scenario for so many murderous rampages. But instead, the officers were shot by a married couple who pinned demeaning slogans on the dead officers’ uniforms and continued their deadly rampage at a local Wal-Mart.

Inside that store, they murdered a shopper, exited, and completed a suicide pact in the parking lot. The entire sequence of events parallels a modern-day “Bonnie and Clyde.” How a woman could partake in this killing spree with her husband is beyond words. Love was definitely “blind” in this partnership to the point of absolute evil.

California Chrome’s co-owner, Steve Coburn, would have benefitted from a recent lesson by Helio Castroneves, when dealing with defeat and encountering over-anxious reporters. Instead of speaking “in the heat of the moment” after Castroneves’ recent Indianapolis 500 loss by less than a second, the disappointed driver avoided awaiting media for a few moments of contemplation, before opening his mouth.

This was unlike California Chrome’s co-owner Steve Coburn, who shot his mouth off seconds after the horse’s Triple Crown defeat, and kept going, ignoring pleas by his wife to stop talking. Coburn’s remorseful interview asking forgiveness on Monday’s Good Morning America had an air of “un-believability.” It paralleled that of Paula Dean’s tearful apology and confession on national television concerning her problematic racist commentary several years ago. By Monday, Coburn’s public image was unrepairable. Paula Dean has yet to overcome her misdeeds.

Should California Chrome once again make headlines for future racing greatness, it is doubtful Coburn will be allowed anywhere near a microphone. Perry Martin, the other co-owner, inevitably will represent both of them when speaking to reporters. Considering their partnership has a donkey for a mascot, Coburn mimicked the animal a little too closely post-Belmont.

One segment of human valor that merits mention in today’s column, comes from our rival state to the North. This past Friday, Hunter Gandee, 14, spoke as the valedictorian at Bedford Junior High School, in Temperance, Michigan. He is a 4.0 student and wrestling team star. Instead of playing video games all weekend to celebrate his eighth grade graduation, or lounging by the pool with friends, he accomplished something nothing short of miraculous.

Saturday morning, Hunter strapped his 50-pound brother, Braden, age 7, to his back. Accompanied by supporters and other family, Hunter trekked 40 miles to the wrestling center on the University of Michigan campus, never lowering Braden to the ground during this journey. The purpose of his extraordinary feat was to raise awareness about the everyday obstacles faced by those inflicted with Cerebral palsy, which Braden has struggled with since birth.

Named by Hunter as the “Cerebral Palsy Swagger,” he carried Braden through challenging weather, blisters, and harness discomfort to Braden, but accomplished the trek Sunday morning. NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams, featured this herculean feat Monday evening, reported by Kate Snow. The story was so inspiring I located it immediately via the internet and watched the NBC segment again.

Hunter’s mission was to increase awareness for the difficulty Braden, and other children have navigating their walkers or wheelchairs through school playgrounds, and the woodchips or other loose material that hinders their access to the equipment. Hunter hopes an engineer will see their story and design a better device for those with mobility challenges, so they can enjoy the outdoors, despite uneven terrain.

Braden deemed Hunter “a Superman” during Kate Snow’s interview with the Gandees. The two brothers could not be more likeable and offers all of us a lesson in overcoming adversity. It was reported that upon reaching “mile 30,” the brothers nearly quit the mission due to discomfort being experienced by Braden from the straps of the harness used to carry him, and also torrential rain that impeded their progress.

Hunter called a friend asking for support to accomplish the last ten challenging miles of the journey. The friend prayed and succeeded in giving the brothers a heavenly boost to the University of Michigan campus and suddenly sunny skies. A “Go Blue” banner was erected in their honor, which Hunter hoisted Braden to touch, as they crossed the finish line.

What extraordinary young men both of you are, Hunter and Braden. Carry on Hunter. You are destined for greatness, maybe as an engineer yourself, to solve the physical challenges of so many who must rely upon a walker or other device for mobility. And Braden, you indeed are one lucky boy to have such a wonderful big brother. We all wish for a brother like yours, despite his love of the Wolverines…..

Mariann Main is a Licensed Counselor and a Delaware native. Her column appears weekly on Wednesdays. To submit a question and have Mariann answer it anonymously, send mail to the Delaware Gazette office, 40 N. Sandusky St., Suite 203, Delaware, OH 43015.