Mom explains reason for sign
Editor’s note: This letter was addressed to the board of directors of the Greater Cleveland Athletic Association. A copy was provided to the Garner-Cleveland Record for publication.
Dear Board Members:
Thank you for taking the time to meet with me and my family on Monday, August 17, 2015. I am sending this letter because the board required this letter as a prerequisite to the replacement of the sign honoring our son Brandon.
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At the board meeting we attended, I wanted to share about Brandon but after hearing the comments from the board and the tone by which it was delivered, my thoughts just weren’t in the right place honestly. As I’m writing this letter, I would like to share some things about Brandon with the board. Whether you care or not, Brandon Samuel Spence was truly an exceptional kid, not just to his family and close friends but many people within the community. Maybe that’s why losing him was such a tragedy for all that knew him and maybe that’s why members of the GCAA wanted to honor and remember Brandon. Saying that Brandon was full of life is definitely not an exaggeration because from the moment he started walking at 10 months old, he never stopped. He woke up in the morning with a smile on his face and more energy than I could ever muster up in a week.
Brandon was an excellent student in school and never once got in trouble or ever had to pull a card at school; his conduct grade was always exceptional as he wanted to please everyone he knew. His teacher would always tell me that they wished they had a classroom full of Brandons which made us so proud to be his parents. Brandon was in the Beta Club in middle school and always put his studies first. I never once had to remind him to do his homework, study for a test or complete any project that he had coming due in school. He was self-motivated in everything he did.
When Brandon starting playing T-ball at the age of four, it soon became his passion. At the age of 8, he started playing travel baseball and spent the rest of his years continuing playing baseball at GCAA and with All-Stars every year until he aged out. Baseball was a way of life for our entire family because of Brandon. The dedication he showed on a daily basis with practice/games 7 days a week, traveling out of town nearly 3 weekends out of the month and summer visits to Disney Wide World of Sports and Cooperstown, NY, as well as tournaments in Tennessee and Georgia, was who Brandon Spence was and wanted to be. His dream was to play baseball in college at UNC but that’s a dream he was never able to achieve.
This has been a very emotional time for me, for my husband Jeff, our sons Jeffrey and Tyler, and all of the people that have loved Brandon and supported us during the last six and a half years. There is no way that we could ever put into words what effect losing Brandon has had on us physically and emotionally. We miss him more than life itself. That is the reason why we felt so honored when the members of GCAA in 2009 asked us if they could name field #2 (the field that Brandon played on for his entire baseball career at GCAA) in honor of Brandon. It has always been a way for the community to show its love and support for someone they felt deserved the honor and helped us to cope with his loss. With that being said, I take full responsibility for not checking on the sign more regularly and continuing involvement with the GCAA organization. Thank you for bringing that to my attention. We want more than anything for Brandon to be remembered especially in one of his most favorite places and where he made some of his best memories.
When I first emailed GCAA on Wednesday, July 29, it was only to inquire as to why Brandon’s sign was no longer in its place at the field. We are sorry that the Board perceived our inquiry as inappropriate because it was never intended to become anything negative; we were simply requesting information. We are also sorry that this matter caused any negative public relations for the GCAA Board. We would never maliciously attack an organization that has been so near and dear to our family. As a grieving family, our sole purpose has always been to honor our beloved son Brandon who was taken from his family, friends and community far too young. Brandon loved baseball and Brandon loved that field and those are just some of the things that we want people to remember and with that sign in his memory, that’s how his memory lives on in a place that he loved so much.
We apologize for any tension that has been caused in requesting information about the sign and any backlash that occurred during the investigation but we are glad that the GCAA board has agreed to help us resolve these issues and especially glad that you have agreed to approve a sign to be replaced for Brandon. Our family cannot thank you enough for allowing that to be an option regardless of what the stipulations may be; we are glad to adhere to them for Brandon as we are his only advocates. Going forward, we can see only positive matters emerging from the events of the last few weeks; the sign will be replaced in the near future, our family and friends will be involved in the maintenance of the GCAA field as often as we like and once again Brandon will be thought of and remembered by not only the people that knew and love him but also people that are just curious about him and his life.
In conclusion, I would like to quote Jackie Robinson when he said “A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives” and what an impact Brandon Spence had on so many lives and will continue to have with the replacement of the sign. Thank you so much to all board members that graciously agreed to offer us the option of replacing the sign.
Jeff, Amy, Jeffrey and Tyler Spence, Cleveland