Washington Times Herald
FCA involvement saves Bratton Two times
Ron Bratton is known around Daviess County and surrounding area as the Fellowship of Christian Athletes guy. He travels the schools to meet with students involved in the organization each week.
"I love doing this," said Bratton, who fell into the FCA role aout 5 years ago. "I love being around the kids. It is my favorite thing to do, and with the kids is my favorite place to be".
Its a good thing he enjoys spending time with the kids too. It may have saved his life. Last month Bratton suffered a heart attack while at Barr-Reeve High School. He had walked into the office to ask Carmen Yoder how her daughter was doing in college.
"I got the question out," said Bratton, who said he felt no warning signs before the episode. "But that was it. I don't remember much of anything else."
They say timing is everything, and in this case the timing couldnt have been better. School nurse Mandy Ash and other members of the school staff quickly responded to Yoder's calls for help.
"Mandy hooked Ron up to the AED (automatic external defibrillator) and administered several shocks," said Jeff Doyle, Barr-Reeve principal, adding that Barr-Reeve has two nurses, Ash and Cheryl Graber who have trained other staf members for emergency situations as well. "There's no doubt that the staffs quick response and having the AED saved Ron's life.
Dr. Merle Holsopple was also at the office at the time to assist the school and the Montgomery Volunteer Fire Department was also on the scene. "From what I understand, everything just kind of fell into place," said Bratton. "Its now my goal that every school has an AED. Without it, I wouldn't be here."
Bratton's mother, Marilyn said the first thing Ron said after arriving at Jasper Memorial Hospital was he was unsure if he would be able to continue with FCA. "That was all he was worried about," she said of her son who also returned to work with students within a few days of having his leg amputated in April. "I told him of course he'd still be able to do FCA. That was never a question to me."
Doyle said Bratton means so much to the students and the Daviess County community. "I'm so thankful he is still with us," he said.
This may be the second time that dealing with FCA saved Bratton. Prior to moving back to Daviess County, Bratton lived and worked in Columbus, Indiana, but a series of of strokes and other health issues forced him back to his hometown of Plainville.
"I was bitter. I was mad at the world," said Bratton, who returned to his FCA duties after being released from a Indianapolis Hospital where he had stents implanted after the heart attack. "I was a avid guitarist. I couldnt play anymore. All I did was feel sorry for myself. The kids would have hated me had they known me then." Longtime friend and Washington High School principal LeAnne Kelley said Bratton was at a very low point n his life until FCA entered his world.
"He was struggling," said Kelley. "I really believe FCA has helped Ron jus as much as he has helped FCA. You see him at sporting events and other activities the kids have going on. He loves the kids and the kids love him. Ron should have been a teacher. He has a true heart for the kids."
Courtney Pruett, a member of the Barr-Reeve FCA echoed Kelley's sentiments. "I think Ron is the sweetest person. He has a huge heart for God and others" said Pruett. "He is the true defenition of unselfish and caring."
Bratton said a friend had asked if he would help with some computer work for FCA, and he became hooked. "I think he asked me more or less because he thought I needed something to do" said Bratton, as a wide smile crept across his face. "I've been doing this ever since and I dont plan on stopping anytime soon."
The students involved hope Bratton doesn't plan on stopping his FCA duties soon either. Since taking on FCA, Bratton said the number of students involved at the schools had grown trememdously. "We have 60 at North Daviess, 35 -40 at Barr-Reeve, and about a dozen at Loogootee" said Bratton. "They are such super kids, always willing to help."
In addition to FCAhe also oversee's a music group called Solid Rock, that involves many of the FCA students from area schools. "Its amazing to see how close the these kids in the group get," Bratton said. "It's jist incredible.
While Bratton and the FCA students from around the area complete several service projects each year, one of the highlights is Fields Of Faith a interdenominational outreach event that will be held at over 500 locations throughout the US this month. Locally students will gather at Montgomery Ruritan Park on Wednesday at 6:30 pm.
"This will be our 5th Fields Of Faith," said Bratton, who was asked by the student organizers to speak this year. "We usually have about 200 kids come out for fellowship."