I got a private message from one of my Facebook friends last week and was given notice that a gift for my newly constructed outdoor deck bar would be arriving within a couple of days. My friend Anita has been one of my Facebook friends for the last 5 years that I became acquainted with through White County Medical Center (Unity Health) because the Morgan family had a loved one in the hospital diagnosed with a terminal brain tumor. This story is about Coach Bryan Morgan and his family.
Here’s a little background to this story, so I’ll start at the beginning…always a good place to begin right. In 2002 I started a part-time business (SearcySports) as a “sports photographer” for some of the local schools including the Searcy Lions. My job entailed taking pictures of the young high school athletes, the cheerleaders and even the coaches. Back then, I always tried to take plenty of action shots, but I also tried to do as much “candid” photography of the players and coaches on the sidelines. Because I tried to involve the entire team in my photography, I was befriended by many of the coaches on the sidelines. I would even give the coaches their photos for free. In the course of the years that I owned SearcySports I became familiar with many of these coaches and while I was never social friends with any of them, I respected them and learned each of their names and always referred to them as Coach (last name). Some coaches were fiery and yelled a lot, and some were very quiet. Some had reputations as being unfair or hard to get along with, and some were easy to get along with on the sidelines. My point being that although I didn’t know them socially, I did know them pretty well professionally. I also saw a lot of coaches come and go, some promoted, and some left the area.
In the last year I owned the business (2006), I tried a little harder to get more candids…but admittedly I focused more on the head coaches and not as much on the assistant and position coaches. Still, I did get some of Coach Bryan Morgan. Coach Morgan was one of the assistant coaches for the Searcy Lions in 2006. I came to know him as a very quiet and WELL RESPECTED member of the coaching staff. The interactions I had with Coach Morgan were always pleasant and he always seemed grateful for the photography I did for both the coaches and the team. After I sold the business, I really lost touch with most of my photography acquaintances including the players and coaches…but I never forgot them and many still remembered me.
My real and regular job was being the supervisor in the laboratory at White County Medical Center from 1999 until 2014. In November of 2013 when I heard that Coach Morgan was admitted to the hospital as a hospice patient, my Lab Director (Greg Ashby) and I both went to go see Coach Morgan in his room. When we saw him he was alert and resting comfortably and greeted us both warmly (I think both he and Greg were originally from Augusta). After the visit when I got home I decided I would go through my pictures (in excess of a million photographs) to see if I could find any pictures of Coach Morgan. Luckily, I had taken several over the course of the season in 2006. I picked out a couple of the better ones and printed them out. I took the printed pictures to work the next day in the hopes they would brighten his day a little. Although I printed the pictures for Coach Morgan, little did I know that it would also raise the spirits of his family. Of course I was thanked at the time and I thought that would be the end of it. It wasn’t.
I had already been friends with Coach Morgan’s aunt since 2012…maybe because of Greg Ashby or because of SearcySports…or maybe just because we share a “hippie” philosophy. 🙂 Shortly after Coach Morgan passed away I got a private message from Anita telling me how much that Coach Morgan’s Mom and Dad appreciated the visit and the pictures I had taken to his room while he was in the hospital. That was in November 2013. Now…fast forward to last week and I get another message from Anita asking about our new deck and the decorations. She wanted to send me something for the deck…I thought it was just a gesture of kindness regarding our common interests of the 60’s music and culture scene. I honestly had no idea it was for anything other than that…and to be honest, I really don’t like getting gifts. But she was nice enough to send out the gift…and it was PERFECT. We love it! But also in the box was a card. A thank you card. I began to read it, and to be honest it got to me…emotionally it was upsetting, but in a good way. I won’t divulge the contents other than it was a continuation of the appreciation for the care and thoughtfulness shown to Coach Morgan and his family while he was hospitalized. I was truly moved. THANK YOU SO MUCH…to the Morgan Family.
I truly appreciate the “Life is Brewtiful” sign I got from Coach Morgan’s Aunt on behalf of the family. Needless to say, I was surprised by this “unexpected gesture of appreciation”. I will cherish it for a very long time. And every time I look up at that “brewtiful” little sign, I will remember both Coach Morgan and the heartfelt thanks from you and the family that was expressed on the card. And no gift could ever overcome the sentiments you have expressed to me.
As a healthcare worker, I never expect a thank you. I really don’t. In fact, over these 41 years that I worked as a lab tech, I never got a personal thank you card. I had lots of people request me or my services (and for me, that was the THANK YOU)…but as a healthcare worker we don’t take care of patients to be thanked, but when it does happen…it’s not only appreciated, but it’s a validation of our dedication to the work we do. (I plan to do an article on the decision to go into and to remain a healthcare worker as a career).