We had the privilege of awarding the first Harrison Brown Volunteer of the Year award to Whitney Sadler at the 2017 Austin Walk to Defeat ALS.
The award honors the late Harrison Brown who lost his life in the stabbing at the University of Texas in May 2017.
ALS Texas Board Member Bob Ballou introduced the award, describing Harrison as a young man who was the embodiment of a great son, brother, and man. Harrison’s motto in life was “Never is there something to die for, but there is always something to live for.”
“Defining the word ‘hero’ is pretty easy if you know or have ever met Harrison Brown,” Bob said.
Harrison’s brother, John, spoke of his brother’s response to their father’s ALS diagnosis in October 2015.
“Harrison realized that all we have in this world is time,” John said. “And the thing that differentiates us from one another is what we choose to do with the time that we have.”
When Harrison started school at the University of Texas, he got right to work. He joined the Austin ALS Association as a volunteer and intern, he volunteered at the walk, performed live music for ALS patients, and even pledged the Phi Delta Theta fraternity because their philanthropy was ALS.
“Sadly, my brother’s time in this world was cut short,” John said. “But Harrison did it right. He didn’t waste a second in getting involved.”
To honor the spirit of volunteerism that Harrison demonstrated, we created the Harrison Brown Volunteer of the Year award, which was awarded to Whitney because, like Harrison, she has dedicated so much of her time to help those with ALS.
Whitney has marched the steps of Capitol Hill to raise awareness for ALS, she’s demanded compassionate care for patients who live with ALS, and she’s been instrumental in Max’s Ride, an annual motorcycle ride that has raised over $200,000 for the Texas Chapter.
Upon accepting the award, Whitney said that Max’s Ride is not a one-person effort. She thanked the countless supporters, volunteers, and sponsors.
“All of you, you have a mission,” Whitney said. “We’re going to find a cure for ALS. And for those of you who have been touched by ALS, you’re not in this fight alone. Look around you, look all around. We’re going to continue this fight together, for those who are no longer able. Thank you for being out here today, and thank you Brown family for this honor.”
A very special thank you to Whitney for her outstanding example of volunteer leadership and for organizing Max’s Ride for more than 10 years, and to Harrison and his family, for his spirit of dedication to the fight against ALS.