With great sadness today I learned of the death of Bethany Buzynski, a remarkable young lady whom I had the great pleasure to know for just a few months back in 2006.
Before joining the ranger staff at Antietam, I was employed as a permanent substitute teacher at Fairfield Area Senior High School, just down the road here from Gettysburg. I would go in everyday from January through the end of the school year, having a different classroom and different subject each day. I thus got to know the students there pretty well. Bethany was a freshman then. Just the year before, she had been diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer. In her battle, she underwent a lot of treatment and endured a lot of pain, but, what I will always remember, she always had a smile on her face. Always. She was pleasant, very friendly, and a great joy to have in the classroom. Above all, however, Bethany was--and still is--an inspiration.
Near the end of the school year, I discovered that Bethany and her family were moving to Florida. I wished her, as well as her older sister, then a junior, the best of luck. A year and a half has passed since then, and today, while walking up to the town library, I noticed on the back of a car a sticker that read: "In Loving Memory of Bethany Kristine Buzynski: 1990-2007." My heart sank.
Bethany only got to spend sixteen years on this earth, but short though this time was, she certainly touched the lives of many, many people, myself included, although I knew her for just a few months when I was a substitute teacher, and she was a freshman.
On this blog, I spend a good deal of time writing about heroes. . .and today's post is certainly no exception. The past is not the only place where we find heroes; they are, indeed, all around us. Although Bethany is no longer with us, she is still a hero, an inspiration, a shining light. In the face of so much pain, still, she smiled. And I'll never forget that.
Bethany Buzynski (left) with her sister. . .