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Greer says goodbye to a child of the city

By Jim Fair, Editor
Published on Tuesday, March 20, 2012

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Brandon DeBaron Talley, affectionately known as

Brandon DeBaron Talley, affectionately known as "Dynamite", will be remembered more for what he meant to the community.



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Greer High School Archives

"Dynamite",  bottom row far left, was given a jersey to wear for this team photo by then head coach Travis Perry. "He was as much a member of our team as any player or coach," Perry said.



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Greer High School Archives

"Dynamite", third row far right, served as manager of the baseball team. He was a fierce competitor who didn't like losing and was focused on his responsibilities.

Greer will wrap its arm around Brandon DeBaron Talley for the final time this afternoon.

There’s no telling how many times “Dynamite”, a nickname affectionately given Talley by former Greer head football coach Stuart Holcombe, has given hugs to the many people that befriended him. A hug from “Dynamite” was the purest exchange of his love.

“Once “Dynamite” got to know you, it was more than a handshake. It was a hug,” Greer Police Sgt. Chad Richardson, said. “When you got a hug from “Dynamite” it was special.” Richardson was Greer’s school resource officer where “Dynamite” attended.

Services for “Dynamite”, 26, will be at Fairview Baptist Church today at 4 p.m. Burial will follow in the church’s cemetery.

Diagnosed with sickle cell anemia, “Dynamite’s” life was one of survival at an early age. He died late Wednesday night at Greenville Memorial Hospital. Ironically, Travis Perry, Greer Athletic Director and former head football coach when Dynamite was the team’s manager, was in the emergency room, receiving aid for an undisclosed illness at the same time “Dynamite” was being treated for complications from his disease.

“I wish I would have known “Dynamite” was there,” Perry said. “I don’t know what I could have done but I would have liked for him to know I was there.” Perry was released and when he checked his voice mail for messages the next morning he learned of “Dynamite’s” death. “When I turned on the phone the first message was from Justin Miller saying, ‘“Dynamite” went to be with the Lord at 11:30 last night.’”

The obituary posted on The Gilmore Mortuary website identified “Dynamite’s” immediate family and referred to Patty and Joe Miller as his adoptive parents and Justin, his brother, and Anna, as his sister. Also acknowledged were a host of other relatives and friends.

There is no defining moment the Miller family, Greer’s schools and athletic family or his community elders, brothers and sisters can point to as the tipping point to bringing Dynamite into their hearts and souls.

“It was a Biblical thing to watch. It was truly inspirational to see the love and support Dynamite received from the community,” Robbie Gravely said.

Little did Dynamite know he was a reverse role model. While Greer nurtured Dynamite, it was the way he lived his life that provided inspiration to the community.

“Selfishly we see somebody pass through our life like Dynamite and see what he is going through. And selfishly we gain so much more by him being part of our lives,” Gravely said.

“I can look back and think he had a great life,” Perry said. “This community, Fairview Baptist and Greer, Patty, Joe and Justin and Anna Miller gave so much to him. But he gave a lot more to everybody than we ever gave him.”

“Dynamite” and Justin Miller met in middle school and became inseparable. “From a 65 pound 14-year old at Greer Middle, Dynamite grew physically, emotionally, and most importantly spiritually,” Miller said.

“Dynamite adapted to having sickle cell and took care of himself to expand his life to just shy of 27 years,” Miller said. “He was so proud to top the 100 pounds mark in body weight after high school and was up to about 120 pounds or so at his death. He had also grown from 5-feet to about 5-10. He had his hip replaced a few years ago and loved not having to walk on that foot’s tippy toe any longer.”

“Dynamite’s” early relationships developed through the Greer High School athletic programs via coaches and athletes. He was an enthusiastic person full of energy and said to always wear a smile. “Even when he was hurting, and at times he would be in a lot pain, even then you would get a smile out of him,” Perry said.

Perry was head coach of the 2003 State Championship football team and every player, coach and manager received a ring commemorating the occasion. ”There was never any doubt Dynamite wouldn’t get a ring,” Perry said. “I have a Greer room in my house and it has everything since I played at Greer, coached at Greer, left and then came back to Greer. I must have 40 pictures or more and Dynamite is in every one of them. Dynamite was as an important part of that team as any player or coach.”

“He loved Greer High School. Being at and on Dooley Field on Friday nights in the fall and coming through the stands to ‘2001’ playing in the background was what he dreamed about even after he experienced it,” Miller said. “His ’03 State Championship team is something he always bragged about and his State Championship ring is what he wore and showed off proudly.”

A member of the Fairview Baptist Church had tears in her eyes all the while she was smiling and talking about the love “Dynamite” reciprocated with all those that knew him.

Dynamite was steered to Fairview Baptist by Miller. A house was built and rented for Dynamite by members of Fairview Baptist across the street from the original church. He was baptized at the church, joined the youth group and as late as last year played softball and basketball. He was a regular at SSI for exercise and therapy. “Everybody loved him,” the church representative said. “He touched a lot of people and he never complained. You just knew he was hurting at times. He was gentle and affectionate. And he always smiled when he saw you and gave you a hug.”

“Dynamite’s smile would light up a room with no problem,” Miller said. “Dyno’s laugh would make you realize the simple things in life and remind you to have a great time in whatever you were doing just like he would. Dynamite loved people and meeting new people.”

Dynamite, as an effect of his disease, was frequently hospitalized for treatment. Several times the diagnosis wasn’t particularly promising. It was on one occasion that Mayor Rick Danner and his wife, Rita, visited Dynamite and presented him the key to the city.

“He was good friends with my youngest son, Jacob, and they all hung out together and spent some time at the house,” Danner said. “There was a period of time when Dynamite was sick and we wanted to give him something we hoped would mean a lot to him. We thought it appropriate to present him a key to the city recognizing a family friendship. He was a child of the city.”

Dynamite, as a young child, chose to stay close to his friends. As with most students they became each other’s support group, teammates and friends for life. Friendships with Dynamite were “all in”.

“I see so many people who can’t get past their lifestyle. This kid broke it,” Richardson said. “Dynamite wanted to keep positive people in his life. He always stayed on the right path.”

At today’s services Perry will bring a link board that will be displayed near Dynamite. It represents where each player on the ’03 championship team was given a link to personify “Today I will be the strongest link.” Dynamite was charged with collecting the links before each player walked through the Dooley Field stands in the smoke during pre-game ceremonies. The board was so small handles were cut out so “Dynamite” could handle it more easily.

 

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