Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Tom Bowen - Grieving Father and Everyday Hero

I cannot tell you how much I was affected by following the story of Ben Bowen, a young boy who lived most of his short life battling a horrific form of brain cancer. His life was ultimately lost on this earth in a most painful and difficult manner. His parents remained resolute and strong in their faith and their desire to honor their second son. You can read about Ben's cancer journey here. More than three years after Ben's death, the site still maintains a regular following despite the fact that it is seldom updated. Ben and his family continue to be everyday heroes in my mind.

Tom, Ben's father, was a West Virginia fire fighter, who became known around the world after the September 11 attack on the twin towers in NYC. Tom was a member of one of several rescue teams that searched for and recovered the bodies of those lost that day from the collapsed buildings. He was the fireman in the photo seen praying over one of the bodies that they had located and brought out of the rubble. Later, when Tom's son Ben was battling for his life against the monster called cancer, the son of the man in the picture that Tom was praying for, left a comment on Ben's site, letting Tom and his family know that he was praying for their son, just as Tom had prayed for his father.

Tom has only minimally kept up with the site that chronicled Ben's battle but every once in a while, I will return and be surprised by an update. After they lost Ben, the Bowens have added two more sons and are now expecting a daughter in December, all joining older brother Elijah, who lives with the loss of a brother he adored. If you visit Ben's site, I am sure you will be touched by Tom's open and honest expression of the pain he experienced, of his clear and determined love for his family and his desire to respect and honor Ben's memory.

On my visit to Ben's site today, my first in months, I found a link to a blog that Tom started that tells of his experiences as a volunteer rescuer at the tower locations. It is also heartfelt and a true memorial to the lives lost on that fateful day as written by someone with first-hand experience at the tower site. Tom's blog is called Live Life Different. I urge you to go there and read what Tom had to say. There are only two entries, both relating to his memories and experiences surrounding the 911 tragedy. It's well worth the time.

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posted by Marsha at


Blogger Linda said...

Oh Marsha, How well I remember Ben! His story touched millions. I didn't know Tom had a blog about Ben and is starting a new one about 9/11. This was all before I started blogging. Did you know Huntington is just 20 minutes from me.

I will be visiting Tom's blog. Thanks so much for this information.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008 at 6:17:00 PM CDT  
Anonymous Randall said...

Tom's story is very moving. Ironically, my WW post today is about a more recent tragedy. These things should remind all of us to hug our families and friends whenever we can, and to live every moment to its fullest potential.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008 at 2:55:00 PM CDT  
Blogger Marsha said...

As I thought Randall, I checked out your post to see that it was indeed about the train crash in California that occurred the other day. And you are right, of course, that we need to show those we love and care about each day just what they mean to us.

Unfortunately, that doesn't seem to be something innate to mankind. It seems to take tragedy to remind us what is truly important in life.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008 at 5:26:00 PM CDT  
Blogger Linda said...

There is something I got to tell you the last time I was here. Since Ben's death, St. Jude's has built a house here in the area and raffled it off. Each ticket is $100 and the house is worth around $450,000. It's call "The House That Ben Built". I've bought tickets, but have never won.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008 at 10:48:00 AM CDT  

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