As my regular readers know, one year ago, my friend Brian Cowdrey gave his life in service to his country.
As has been shared since that terrible day, Brian was one of the best of the best at what he did in his professional life. NObody ever doubted that when Brian answered a call to GO, lives would be saved. That is what he did, and there are many of our Military (yes, including coalition Troops) who are alive today because Brian never hesitated to go into danger, because there were wounded who needed his skills and dedication.
THIS is one of my favourite pictures of Brian at work.
I knew Brian for many years, and it was my privilege to come to see the private Brian, the Brian who loved (LOVES) his family - Brian the family man: the son, the brother, the lover, the husband, the oh so proud dad, the goofball at play...
Even though Brian talked to me many times of Jill, his kids and his family, it is only in the last year that I have been blessed to come to know Jill, and Brian's family, first-hand..
This has always been one of my favourite pictures of Jill and Brian.. As anybody who knows me at all knows, how our Fallen Heroes LIVED and loved really matters to me, and must be remembered and honoured.
Of this picture above, Jill says:
This is one of the last pictures of Brian and I together. We had gone to Great Wolf Lodge before he deployed in August & in the arcade they had a picture booth. We sat down to take the picture & he leaned in & kissed me. Such a treasured picture now.
Jill graciously agreed to share her favourite pictures and memories of her best friend, and has given me permission to share them here so that the world would gain a glimpse of the private Brian, the man she has known since she was about 5 years old..
We had just gotten engaged in this picture. One of my favorites! We were both so happy! April 1994
In early 2006 Brian came to Ft Bragg as a brand new Flight Medic. Whenever family came to see us we always took them out to see the helicopters & we climbed up on top of the bird & took this picture. Another one of my favorites!
Brian with his mom Donna, we had a lovely day walking around the park near her house!
This is the five of us with my Momma & Pops. We were visiting after Justin graduated high school & right before he went into the Army!
Justin & Reena went to the senior prom in May of 2010. We didn't realize when we went to see them off that we would be in a picture with them!
Nathan looks so much like his dad! We had gone to Cracker Barrel (one of Brian's favorite places to eat) and they were sitting across the table from Jacob and I and they had happened to look at each other when I was shocked at just how much they looked alike! So I made them look at each other while I took a picture!
This is the day that Justin was sworn into the Army. I am so glad Brian was there to see him do that! Afterwards we were able to take pictures & I didn't get a really good one of them shaking hands so I asked them to do it again...this is the result!
Brian absolutely loved living in Virginia & we went back whenever we could! This is up on the Blue Ridge Parkway back in 2006. We always had so much fun on the Parkway!
Brian & I at a friend's birthday party!
Anybody who knows anything about Brian, knows about him and dogs. THIS picture that Jill sent me is also one of my favourites (and Bratdog's, of course!)
If you know Brian at all you know that he was a HUGE dog lover. German Shepherds in particular! He dreamed about working with them & was always honored to be able to medevac a working dog! We went to the hanger one day with Sampson & Brian got the dream he had dreamed to be in his bird with his dog!
That Brian's sons are so proud of their dad - just as he was always so proud of them - is obvious to any who know any of them even a little. Last October, his son Jacob made this video for his dad, which serves as reminder for those that might need it, that the family also Serves.
I also know that while Brian may be physically apart from those he loves the most - for now - he will always be an important presence in their family, and in every event.
I know that the accepted wish for our Fallen Heroes is that they rest in peace. Goodness knows, Brian has earned the right to rest, but I somehow have difficulty imagining Brian resting. I always see him flying through the Heavens, still watching over his most precious family.
Brian and Jill: Never, ever doubt that I will always remember, always honour and ALWAYS love you...
Previous posts about Brian:
Fighting for a Life; Fighting to Bring Home Every Body He CouldRemembering SSG Cowdrey( Brian) in AFG RIP SSG Robert B. Cowdrey
[BratNote: Every picture here is owned and copyright protected by Jill, Brian and their family. These photos represent but a small part of Jill's what I call "photo album of the heart" and are used here with their permission. Anybody who even thinks about using them for any political ends, or for earnings via PayPal, will be hunted down. Brian would expect nothing less.]
There is a FaceBook page that Jill set up in memory of Brian, and I promised that I would link to it, since it is her hope that those who know Brian will share their memories of him there, as a permanent tribute. Please go here....: In Memory of SSG Robert Brian Cowdrey