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A grandfather’s legacy: Teen gives to Christmas Happiness

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Illustration by Mark Brincefield.

By Shavonne Walker
shavonne.walker@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — A year ago Bryson Bebber lost a piece of himself with the death of his grandfather Sammy “Pops” Bebber, who was the most influential person in the teenager’s life.

His grandfather helped raise him, always encouraged him and was his best friend. It was that closeness that inspired the South Rowan High senior to write about how important his grandfather was to him for a college entrance letter.

A Christmas Happiness donation was made today in honor of Pops Bebber.

In addition to being a positive influence in his life, Sammy Bebber also encouraged his grandson to do his best in school and to “keep my faith in God and best man I can be,” Bryson said.

Below is an excerpt from Bryson’s college application letter. He was asked to write about an obstacle that he had to get through in life that made him a better person.

“Monday, Dec. 11, 2017 around 12:15 p.m., I received a phone call that would alter my character for the rest of my life. As I was sitting there in class, my phone began to ring. Surprised by the call, I could hear the urgency and worry in my father’s voice. My lifelong best friend, my grandfather, was being rushed to the emergency room.

Later that afternoon my family and I were sitting in the waiting room desperately awaiting the news. As the words left the doctors mouth, I felt as if a sudden darkness had fallen over me and my loved ones. Crushed would be an understatement. I felt as if I had lost a part of myself. My grandfather was easily the most influential and dedicated person in my life.

Sammy “Pops” Bebber taught me lessons beyond my years that I will carry with me the rest of my life. First and most importantly, he taught me to love everyone. Love the people who do not love themselves. Love your fellow friends and enemies. Pray for those who need God in their lives.

My grandfather never met a stranger. Every time we were out in public he would start a conversation with anyone he saw. Sammy didn’t care what color you were or what social class you came from, all he wanted to do was make you smile.

I’ve incorporated this into my everyday life. I try to make everyone welcomed and loved. Anytime I see someone sitting alone at lunch I make an effort to invite him over to sit with me and my friends.

Today’s kids are lonely, depressed, and shy. I know this because I’ve faced it myself. They have things going on in their lives that no one sees or knows about.

I try to make a conscious effort to put a smile on everyone’s face that I interact with, just like my grandfather did. I would always hear my grandfather use Jim Valvano’s phrase: “Every single day, in every walk of life, ordinary people do extraordinary things.”

At the time I just nodded my head in agreement although I wasn’t exactly sure what he meant. Now it all makes sense. He didn’t mean extraordinary things like scoring 50 points in a basketball game or leading the conference in scoring.

He meant that you had the ability to make an extraordinary difference in people’s lives by spreading your love and God’s grace.

I pray that God blesses me with many children so that I can love them the way my grandfather loved me. He taught me the value and meaning of being a true family man. Sammy told me that all we have in life is our family and we must love them unconditionally. Excitement fills my mind when I ponder the future and how I get the opportunity to raise my children on the principles my grandfather laid before me.”

Contributions to the Christmas Happiness Fund may be delivered to the Salisbury Post, 131 W. Innes St., between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays or mailed to Salisbury Post Christmas Happiness Fund, P.O. Box 4639, Salisbury, NC 28145-4639. Please make checks payable to Christmas Happiness and indicate how you want your donation listed.

Today’s contributions are:

In memory of deceased co-workers:  Wanda DeRemer, Ann Morris, and Jekolia Hipp by Spencer #1197 Chapter — $25
In memory of Sammy “Pops” Bebber by Bryson Bebber — $100
In memory of Cecil and Ruth Bernhardt, Gilbert and Donna Bernhardt, David Deese, Phil Bernhardt and Debbie Walker Bernhardt by Vernon and Cheryl Bernhardt — $300
In memory of Buck Hurley — $1,000
The Carson Family — $500
In memory of Earline Ayars — $100
In memory of our parents by Larry and Sandra McKenize — $400
In memory of Everette Vanhoy, loving husband, father and greatgrandfather by the Everette Vanhoy Family — $500
In honor of David Alexander by Nancy A. Mathis — $25
In memory of Libby Bame by a grateful parent to a wonderful preschool teacher — $50
In memory of my father J.P. Helms and sister Libby Helms Hoffmire by Pam Clark — $50
In memory of Jim Wilson by Park Clark — $25
In honor of HoHo by Amanda — $25
In honor of the readers of the Salisbury Post by Elizabeth and E. D. Cook — $200
In memory of Deal Safrit and Bill Brownlow by Sheila Brownlow — $50
Merry Christmas — $150
In honor of Paula C. Scruggs and in memory of Kelly Cartner  by Don and Nora Cartner — $50
In memory of Mary Jula Honbarger  by Bob Honbarger — $100
Providence  Methodist Church Men’s Club —$100
Jean McCoy — $50
Richard Travis — $50
Total — $3,850
Running total —$19,665.76
Contact reporter Shavonne Walker at 704-797-4253.

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