Bryan Young is a remarkable and very likeable 28-year-old.
There is no indication of the tragedy that struck him when he was four years old. He was living in Colorado and was badly burned by scalding water in a household accident. His skin was burned from his feet up to his thighs, which is half of his body. He was proud to show me his feet and legs that only show minor scars.
Back then, as they do now, child injuries of this type always get investigated by child protection agencies.
Luckily for Young, the guardian ad litem who was looking into his case knew all about the Shriner Hospitals for Children burn program (www.shrinershospitalsforchildren.org).
She immediately got in touch with the Shriners and they accepted Young into their burn rehabilitation program at the Cincinnati, Ohio facility. After almost four years of free treatment he was back to having fun as a young boy.
I recently met Young by a stroke of luck. My wife and I like to occasionally go to the Waffle House over at exit 82 on I-26 in Prosperity for supper. It is a friendly restaurant, and I always like to talk to the crew and give my compliments to the chef.
One night, just a week before the Newberry Shrine Club breakfast, the chef was Young. I asked Young if he was going to be cooking at the Shrine breakfast that was held Aug. 18.
“Absolutely,” was his instant response, “I am a grateful recipient of treatment at a Shriner Hospital.” It all clicked for me at that moment.
I knew of Young through his mom, Cheryl, who just happens to be the Newberry County area Waffle House manager. Every August she rounds up a crew from the local Waffle Houses to cook breakfast for the participants in the Newberry County Shriner’s annual poker run to raise money for the hospitals. She told me Young’s story at last summer’s breakfast.
Cheryl told me this past Saturday, “This is my way of thanking the Shriners who helped my son.”
It is important to note that this event is one of hundreds held in South Carolina to raise money for the free hospitals.
Young and his family, wife Ashlee, and three children Destiney, 4, Carter, 2 and Olivia 11 months, moved here from Buffalo, N.Y. in February where he was a store manager for the Canadian restaurant chain Tim Horton.
If you are a Shriner, you already know all the great things the hospitals do for crippled and burned children, and I know I speak for thousands of people everywhere when we say thank you.
For the rest of us, the next time you hear about a Shriner event, make it a point to participate. If you see one of their famous $1 chocolate candy bars for sale at a local retail store, buy it. Not only will you help the kids, but I’m told chocolate is good for your heart. All the money they raise goes to the hospitals. Go to the web site to learn more.
Most of all stop by Waffle House and meet Young; he will be glad to tell you what a great job the Shriner men and women do.