CATAWBA COUNTY, NC (WBTV) - My heart hurts. It's been an awful week in Catawba County. A lot of hearts are hurting over the tragic death of Bradley Long. A hero from every side, who died doing what he loved.
I also just found out about Dave Hardin.
Dave was the public information officer for the county and passed away on Monday. There are a lot of folks who comment and encourage and support the Good News on a regular basis. Not many did it more than Dave.
"Your biggest fan," he often signed his notes to me.
Dave recently sent me an email pitching his own Good News story, featuring his adventures encountered while traveling the country seeking out birds. He'd hit a milestone. On a trip to Colorado he'd seen his 513th different wild bird. That's a huge feat for anybody. It was an especially huge feat for Dave's body.
He was born with spina bifida. He spent much of his life with walking aides or in a wheelchair. You have to be pretty darned determined to see 513 different birds when your legs aren't committed to the same goal. That's how he described it in his email to me. It was full of jokes and hysterical references to some of the obstacles he encountered along the way.
I was "holding" Dave's story. I wish I wouldn't have. I'm heartbroken that I did.
I'll leave you with a small excerpt Dave included in his email... it's the most important part. It's the part he wanted to share the most. Please read it and hold it in your heart, and think of the guy who went bounding about the wilderness chasing a dream (in a wheelchair) until he caught it.
Rest in peace friend, and let them all come perch at your hand.