I’ve always found it truly amazing how the innocence of a child can shine the brightest light on what usually is a pretty dark situation.
Over year ago, following the death of his father who was killed in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan, Braydon Nichols sent an iReoprt to CNN asking only one thing: to include a picture of his father along with the photos of the other Soldier’s killed in that crash.
From what I can tell, CNN began immediate coverage of the crash and had pictures of the Soldier’s involved except for Braydon’s dad, WO1 Bryan Nicholas. I definitely can relate to little Braydon’s upset at the time, but his general disposition about the situation is what’s truly amazing to me. If someone I cared about would have passed away and all other twenty-nine people were mentioned on television or in print I’d be pissed if my family member was left out!
Often times when people go through loss of a loved one lashing out and general displays of unhappiness can be common. For a ten-year-old throwing temper tantrums, crying and any other seemingly illogical behavior can become quite common place when faced with the death of a loved on, specifically a parent. This little boy however did not fuss, cry or demand. He instead wrote a simple letter with an even simpler request. That alone in my eyes shows pride and tact far beyond his years.
After Braydon’s iReport hit the news and airways, he received well over two-hundered-thirty responses to his post and still to date receives uplifting words and general concern from people all over the Nation. As luck and the grace of God would have it, kind words weren’t the only thing that were sent Braydon’s way.
After this article hit, the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, an organization dedicated to aiding families of Soldier’s involved in special operations, got on the horn and started making moves to help out the families left behind by the thirty-two Soldiers that were killed in that crash. Retired Air Force Major Steve McCleary and his team of outstanding comrades began by sending the five families of the Soldiers not involved in special ops (including Braydon’s dad) about $10,000 to cover the costs of travel, lodging and all other expenses associated with attending memorials. McCleary then took things a step further and is paying for these kids to go to college. Lastly, in addition to the supreme monetary compensation, this awesome organization is offering counseling and mentorship to Braydon and the other kids effected by this tragedy. “We don’t just give money, we build relationships with these kids from the start” says McLeary in an interview.
I know very well that it can be really hard to drive on after a major loss, but Braydon and his simple request has certainly made a difference in the lives of those in a similar situation. Without effort, Braydon Nicholas has become a beacon of hope to many, and through his child like virtue he’s receiving some comfort. Here’s the entire article below, compliments of CNN. Enjoy!