A week before Christmas, thieves stole three plaques that adorned a bench near a bike path in Lompoc. The bench was not just any ordinary bench on a random bike path. For a few families, it meant much, much more than that. You see, this particular bench had become a bit of a shrine placed at a car accident site in memoriam to three young men who were in that terrible accident on October 31, 2005. Two of the three boys, all football players for Lompoc High, had died. One of those young men was my donor, Brice Fabing, who provided two of the organs for my life-saving triple-organ transplant. Brice’s decision and the family’s honoring of his wish to bravely donate his organs saved my life as well as the lives of others. In 2010, my company, Paragon Steel, in a form of gratitude, built another steel bench similar to the one on the bike path. It currently resides at Brice’s family home after we donated it on the five-year anniversary of his passing. Our employees even came out to the home to personally present it to the family. It had become a media event in Lompoc, and was even on the cover of the Lompoc Record, their daily newspaper.
As you can imagine, Brice’s mom, Dorine, and other family members were devastated when the plaques were recently stolen from the bench and have been trying to make sense of the random act. The community also felt her pain. Many friends in the community, as well as myself, have offered to replace the plaques to ensure that the shrine would be restored. It will soon happen. Sometimes it’s the little things that remind us of both the good and bad we see in people. Good, however, always prevails!