Brandon M. Stephenson 1990- 2004
- --------------------------------------------------Barry, Dee & Brandon
Brandon was the son of Barry Stephenson and step-son of Dee Christie. He was killed in a car accident in 2004. He is missed terribly by all who knew him. Dee started Run For Your Life in 2006 in his honor.
In Brandon’s short 23 years, he managed to pack in a lifetime of experiences. He grew up in Worchester, MA, but moved to Vermont at age 12. He attended Burlington High School where he participated in baseball, drama and swim team. After graduating from BHS, Brandon spent 4 years in the Marines. Next, it was off to the College of Charleston in South Carolina where he studied Political Science and Spanish, and toyed with the idea of moving out to LA after graduation to pursue an acting career.
Brandon was the type of guy who loved to do everything all at once. While attending college, he was working full-time, playing the guitar, taking dance lessons, and even modeled in-store for Abercrombie & Fitch. Yes, his body was a temple. He loved living an active and healthy lifestyle. He was the reason Dee became a runner.
The Summer before he died, Brandon encouraged Dee to “just run to the corner and back”. (The corner was 1 mile away.) Dee finally agreed, but laid down a challenge of her own. “Fine,” she said, “if you come swim a mile with me afterwards.”
Turns out Brandon had a hard time finding the pool. He went back and forth up Main Street so many times, the police finally pulled him over to ask what he was doing. Dee says this was typical Brandon. He often had to learn things the hard way, which, incidentally, speaks to why this run is not your typical 5k or 10k distance. That would be too easy.
And to finish the story, Dee kicked Brandon’s butt in the pool... and has been running ever since.
Brandon affected a lot of people in his short life. He was always the “designated driver” at parties and would stick up for kids who were being picked on. He was generous with his love, kindness, positive energy and overall enthusiasm for life. Dee later discovered that while in college, Brandon routinely bought and shared a sandwich with a homeless man that he had befriended. After Brandon died, the homeless man sat vigil by Brandon’s car for days.
To honor Brandon’s big heart, strong work ethic and love of life, the scholarship funds raised at this event are awarded to students at Bellows Free Academy and Burlington High School who break “social barriers” by their acts of kindness and generosity, have a monetary need, and will use the funds for secondary education.
The St. Albans community has shown tremendous support for this event. Dee and Barry would like to thank everyone for their support... THANK YOU to the volunteers for their time and efforts, to the sponsors for their generosity, and to all the runners and walkers who show up each year.
Dee says Brandon loved to be in the limelight and would be thrilled to see so many people take part in “his” race.