Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Check Out: Malvern Prep Rowing Teams Honors Fallen Marine

"This skull is no longer just a skull is it? It's a legacy," said Father James Flynn.

On a brightly lit but windswept Saturday, Brandon Bury was, for a moment, very much alive; the center of attention for all the right reasons.

"We were, uh, up in Canada, and as we were returning, I got a call from my dad. He was really upset, and I figured something bad had happened," said Austin Bury.

That call came on June 6th last year, and something bad had happened. Sgt. Bury, on his third tour of duty in Afghanistan, died. The 26 year old father of two was killed by an I.E.D.

"And I just broke down," said Austin. "It was a really sad day."

Austin Bury was Brandon's cousin. Geographically, they were not close. Brandon lived in Texas, but in every other way they were.

The loss hit Austin hard, derailing his season as a championship caliber rower at Malvern Prep.

It hit the team hard, too. Though they had never met him, they were inspired by Brandon's sacrifice. So they dedicated the season in his honor.

Saturday, they made certain he would be a part of their future seasons as well. Christening the Sgt. Brandon C. Bury, USMC, a varsity quad given to the team by an anonymous donor.

Brandon didn't row, but he was an avid swimmer and a fierce competitor, so this, his family says, is fitting.

Though Saturday was the official christening of the Sgt Brandon Bury, the boat has already been on the water twice, winning both times.

"More than anything, the boys really feel motivated when they get into that boat," says Rowing Coach Craig Hoffman.

The dedication gives the young athletes someone to fight for, and for Brandon Bury, the consummate the soldier, a different fight to join.

"This is just awesome," said Austin. "I can't wait to come back and watch them race, next year's varsity squad to see how they do. I'm sure they will be fast and the boat will lead down the river."

You can also watch more videos on this story on Malvern Prep's Youtube Channel

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