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Thursday, May 19, 2016

The "A Guardian Of Children Dies" Story

Chris Brubaker
It was an ordinary day.  Until the news was delivered via the local newspaper telling about the death of a good friend who worked at Manheim Township School District where I taught at one time and still work part-time on the school yearbook as well as in-house printing.  Chris Brubaker had died at the Lancaster General Hospital on April 19th.  Chris had been a friend for many years.  He was hired by the school district as a security guard, but Chris was much more than that.  He worked in the summer months as part of the maintenance staff and also worked for the MT Police Department as a park security guard.  Eight years ago Chris and his wife Marilyn had a daughter who was premature.  She was a little sweetheart and the love of his life.  I did a few framing jobs for Chris, one being a shadow box collage of Martina's hospital gown, her wrist band, a baby bottle, birth certificate and baby booties.  I told Chris I was honored to do the job for him and didn't want anything for it.  He refused to take it unless he could pay me something for it.  I recently framed a photo of Martina at the White House and a letter she received from President Obama. Both were for a school project she participated in at Schaeffer Elementary School in Manheim Township.  Once again, Chris insisted on payment for my time.  For years I have included a photograph of Chris in the Landis Run Intermediate School Yearbook, since he often roamed the halls of the school chatting with the children and keeping a watchful eye on them.  As for me, I had a tag that I hung in my car telling I was permitted to park on school grounds.  At times I would arrive with boxes of paper that I was asked to print for one of the district buildings and needed to park by the main door for easier access.  Chris knew my old blue car and would allow me to park just about anywhere, since he knew I making deliveries or snapping photos.  His smiling face always brightened my day and Chris was one who never complained about any chore or assignment he was given.  He loved his job and the children he guarded almost as much as he loved his wife and daughter.  He was having some problems with severe headaches and had made an appointment to visit his doctor to find out what the problem may be, but died of a stroke before he ever made it to the doctor.  Tough when friends die who you have known for years and years and who are badly needed by their family.  Chris was only 58 years old.  His sudden death is certainly a tragedy.  I will miss Chris' "Hello, Mr. Woods" and his love of those he was hired to protect.  His school family as well as his wife and daughter were the joy in his life.  May Chris rest in peace as he guards the children who now surround him in Heaven.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.    

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