Updated: 5 hours ago
I had the pleasure of meeting Brian in 2009 when I began working for Kids Escaping Drugs (KED) in the Face2Face Program. Brian graduated from the Renaissance Campus in 2005 and remained very involved as an alumnus. He served on the KED Board of Directors, chaired the alumni committee, mentored young people in early recovery, and shared his story with countless teens and parents across Western New York. I knew immediately after hearing Brian tell his story for the first time that he was dedicated, hardworking, and courageous. It was evident he cared a great deal about helping others. Due to his ongoing appreciation and dedication, I was fortunate to work closely with him for ten years.
As Brian and I worked together, we became friends. Brian was kind, supportive, and sentimental. His sense of humor is something that will always stand out in my mind. However, what I remember most about him is how incredibly passionate he was about living life to the fullest, with no regrets. Brian would often encourage me to step outside my comfort zone. He had an adventurous spirit like no other, and he loved to share it with others. Brian could often be found hiking, camping, scuba diving, snowboarding, and kayaking. He was an avid climber of rocks, ice, and mountains. He even climbed Mount Kilimanjaro to raise money for KED in the Klimb for Kids! Brian’s adventures led him to become a world traveler, having been to places like Australia, New Zealand, England, and Peru. When Brian wasn’t outside, he enjoyed collecting LEGOS, playing chess, and computer technology. Shortly before his passing, he worked for a computer company in which he led a grant project that ultimately provided an underprivileged area with Wi-Fi access.
Brian left this world to begin his greatest adventure and climb the highest mountain just over three years ago. He lives on in the hearts of his daughter, his family, his friends, and in the recovery community. I will be forever grateful for everything he did for families in WNY. His vulnerability and courage in sharing his story had a lasting positive impact on so many. I think of Brian often and smile. I am thankful that our work together at Kids Escaping Drugs created a special friendship that I hold close to my heart.
-Jessica Hutchings, Former Face2Face Program Director at Kids Escaping Drugs