Brady Suffered From Painful Ailment
Commentary on this story on Tuesday's Headlines Podcast .
An astronaut who grew up in Robbins, Brady continued a lifelong dedication to helping young people even as he carried on a daily battle against the pain of arthritis.
Brady, 54, died July 23 from apparently self-inflicted wounds near his home on Orcas Island off the coast of Washington state where he lived with his fiance, Susen Oseth, and their 4-year-old son, Charles E. "Charlie" Brady, III.
(On Friday, The Pilot quoted an undersheriff in Washington state who erroneously identified the child as a daughter.)
Brady was laid to rest at Prosperity Friends Church near his father Friday in a private service. A memorial with full military honors will be held at a future date on Whidbey Island. Wash. Brady had returned to service as a flight surgeon at Whidbey Naval Air Station after leaving NASA. He spent his final tour of duty at National Navy Medical Center, in Bethesda, Md., and retired from service in March.
Friends and fellow doctors recalled a man of bright cheer who was particularly encouraging to youth.
Brady, who moved to Washington early this year, struggled to walk hospital halls directing medical operations for injured soldiers returning from the Middle East.
In current interservice handling of combat situations, it would not have been unusual for an injured Marine to receive self-aid and buddy care from a Navy corpsman, be stabilized in an Army field hospital, evacuated by an Air Force crew to medical centers in Germany, and end up on Brady's watch at the Navy's Bethesda Medical Facility in Maryland.
At the same time as he was tending the wounded as a Navy doctor, Brady was volunteering his help to future space travelers and stargazers. Most recently, Brady lent his support to the 3 Rivers Foundation in Texas.
The 3 Rivers Foundation is currently building an astronomy campus between Crowell and Paducah, Texas, in accordance with its mission to increase science awareness to students and the general public.
"It was a bright day for 3RF to have Dr. Brady join us," said Larry Smith, the executive director. "We are entering into an important phase of construction, instruction and locating sources of funding."
'In Great Spirits'
Brady had been in great spirits, Smith said, and was planning to visit them in a few weeks.
"I personally agree with the direction the Foundation is going," Brady said a few weeks ago after agreeing to help the Foundation. "We must provide inspirational educational training for the young people of America."
He particularly liked the foundation's commitment to providing the use of high quality star tools.
"3RF, by using its wonderful world-class astronomical equipment, will have a dynamic impact on students and challenge them to set their career hopes and aspirations high," Brady said. "Comanche Springs Astronomy Campus is a one-of-a-kind environment that will fulfill the dreams of many students and create new dreams for many others. This is a very exciting occasion."
Brady was always very proud of the way his hometown has embraced not only the space programs as its own, but astronomy as well. He was excited about the annual star party that comes to the Scout camp just down the road from Robbins, and Mayor Mickey Brown's proposal to protect the area from light pollution by creating a Dark Park.
"That's a tremendous plan," Brady said on hearing about Brown's idea. "I realize children thereby will know the opportunities they can have. I trust in the people of Moore County. We love you, and we are all Americans."
A Scout camp would have been familiar ground to Brady. As a boy, he became an Eagle Scout, earning required merit badges in the fields, forests, and streams around Robbins. His subsequent accomplishments and service to others led to one of the highest honors in Scouting, the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award.
This is a special award, given only to a very few Eagle Scouts, recognizing exceptional individuals who achieve distinction in their professions and who also have maintained a solid record of continued community volunteer involvement.
Only about 1 in 1,000 of all Eagle Scouts have been presented this prestigious award. It requires distinguished service in profession and to the community for at least 25 years after earning Eagle Scout rank. It is similar to the Presidential Medal of Freedom with Distinction.
Brady joined the ranks of Distinguished Eagle Scouts that include former President Ford, the Menninger brothers, Congressman John Murtha, former Sen. Sam Nunn, Steven Spielberg, Admiral Elmo Zumwalt Jr., former U.S. Chief of Naval Operations, as well as fellow astronauts Neil Armstrong, James Lovell, Ellison Onizuka, Steven Oswald, Ken Bowersox, Richard H. Truly, Richard O. Covey and Roger B. Chaffee.
The total number of recipients is only 1,645 as of mid-2006.
Though pain and paralysis from his rheumatoid arthritis affected his mobility, Brady accepted a request from Michael Gorton to join the advisory board of Teladoc, a company pioneering in economical health care with telephone consultations that make real doctors available by telephone at any hour of the day or night.
"I can't begin to tell you how much Chuck Brady has done for people, for young people and to help others," Gorton said Thursday. "He was always the most cheerful, the most encouraging person."
John Chappell can be reached at 783-5841 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
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