20mm: What is your lasting memory of all that has transpired and do you think you will see it differently a year or so from now?
Brad: Truly, I don’t see this ever being seen differently by me. Ever. This whole journey has changed my life. I have met some really great people. I mean really, really great people. I have some great new friends and have some fantastic things lining up that will never let me forget all of this! I’m very blessed!
20mm: The aviation and air show community had some horrific losses in 2007. Men like Blue Angels pilot Lcdr Kevin Davis, Jim “Bulldog” Leroy, and Jan Wildbergh. How do you see their passing and the impact upon the worldwide air show community?
Brad: This is the heartbreaker. You know, I’m not sure how others see this, but for me these guys did what so many of us can only wish we could do. Death faces us all at one point and another and what I have learned is that we all need to face Life before we face Death. What I mean is, these guys lived. They died living. How many of us would be able to leave that legacy behind? I also know they live on, just not here, but what these heroes have left behind gives us Hope. Hope that this is all bigger than us and we need to do all we can with our lives and love all we can. As actor Russell Crowe said in the movie Gladiator… “What we do in this life, echoes in eternity!”
I mean, I don’t know about you, but I can almost hear Lcdr Kevin Davis saying “Solo ready to rock heaven boss!” Goodness never dies. I know these guys live on. I just know it.
20mm: You clearly have met some great people in the last six months or so. Care to choose a few and comment on those that stand out?
Brad: Well, there are two that stand out the most.
One is my new friend in California. She stood with me throughout all of the contest and she even had some pictures in the contest. She was and is a great encouragement for me and my wife and we have all become good friends with her and we haven’t even met face-to-face… yet! She told me months before even the semi-rounds to ask my wife what color truck I should get. I told her, “no way!” I wasn’t going to win, but once again, she proved just how little faith men have! She has accomplished a lot in her life and overcame a much bigger mountain than I have ever had to in battling and beating cancer. She is truly Inspiring. She is one of the most selfless people I have ever met and she now spends a great deal of her time helping others through a project called Faces of Hope. She is nothing short of fantastic!
The second will have to remain anonymous, but I will say this… she is very close to one of the tragedies of 2007. She too is so incredibly fantastic. She had to face a terrible tragedy last year… one that most of us would never even wish on our worst enemy. However, through all of it she is connecting with all the right people to help her get through the pain. She actually took the time to visit with us in our home and really made us feel “loved”. She is so dear to our hearts now and to be able to call her a friend is truly divine! She is a brave woman and we feel so honored to have had the chance to “connect” with her. You see, great things can come from seemingly small things. You just never know the impact your actions can have on others and if there is only one lesson to learn from all of this… that would be it.
And thirdly, but certainly not least, I have met someone very specific that seems to be tying in very closely with future works just over the horizon. We have become very close friends and it just feels like it’s heaven sent. One of those random chance meetings that turn out to not be not so random after all. You know, like it was “meant to be”. You know, with the right people, we can accomplish almost anything and if we can “be focused” we might just be able to accomplish the seemingly “impossible”. At times it may seem to be beyond our grasp, but then sometimes it so teasingly dangles itself right in front of us as if to encourage us to press on.
20mm: Sometimes I run out of “wows” and this is one of those times. Brad, I thank you so much for your generous time. I will close by telling you how much this has meant to me, and I’m sure it will be appreciated by all who read this. When I get a little on the downside, I run your videos and it helps. More than you know.
We’ve talked before, and we will again, but for now, I appreciate everything you’ve done in opening up your adventure and your life.
With that, I’ll let you have the final remarks. Take care my friend, we will be touch in the times to come.
Brad: Thanks to all of you who helped me get this contest win. It was the most enjoyable ride I have ever been on and just so you know… the flight has only just begun to taxi to the runway!
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