Tuesday, September 25, 2012
The town of Hillsboro and the student body at Tabor College mourn the loss of Brandon Brown, who died over the weekend.
"The thoughts, the feelings are just all tumbling over inside of us. Why? How come? It's not fair. It seems so senseless," said Jules Glanzer, president of Tabor College, from the podium at Hillsboro Mennonite Brethren Church this morning.
More than 500 students and community members gathered at the church for the 26-year-old's memorial service.
Brown moved to Kansas from California, where his two young children lived. He was earning an education and playing football at Tabor College.
"His goal was to get his life on track and to earn his college degree and to be the father he needed to be for his two children," said Aleen Ratzlaff, teacher. "Playing football was going to make that possible."
On Sept. 16, Brown was found unconscious outside a party in McPherson. His teammates were shocked that Brown died of injuries he suffered in the apparent beating.
"Honestly, it was just hard to focus on football but it just gave us another reason, another motivation to go out there and play for him," said Josh Murphy, teammate.
Although Brown recently moved to the community, the town's residents felt the loss of this young football player.
"I feel like I lost a brother that I didn't know because he went to my school. Even though I wasn't there at this time, we're all a family," said Kimberly Friesen, Hillsboro resident.
Brown's friends said they want to move forward and learn from this tragedy.
"I just hope this is like a wake up call, that life is short and we need to get it together," said Murphy.
A fund has been established to support Brown and his family.
Those who wish to donate are asked to send contributions to Emprise Bank, care of the Brandon Brown Relief Fund, 104 E. Grand Ave., Hillsboro, KS, 67063, or call (620) 947-3141.