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Reece, rainbows and smiles brings community unity

In honor and memory of Brad Reece, family, friends, and neighbors enjoyed a softball tournament held last week at Ralph Stout Park. The event saw nearly 2,000 visitors, including Clay Stanley (swinging the bat), giving testimony to their love and respect for the Reece family. Photo by Joey Icenhour

By Tim Chambers
Sports Editor

Brad Reece was a friend to everyone when he left this world recently at the young age of 49. Over the weekend, the entire Johnson County community turned out to show their appreciation to a man who was a friend and blessing to all by hosting a 20 team softball tournament for Brain Cancer awareness month. 

They launched balloons toward the Heavens in his honor, and he responded by God, showing them a beautiful rainbow to let everyone in Johnson County know that he was in good hands.It was estimated that some 2,000 people entered Ralph Stout Park on Friday and Saturday to show their love and support to a family who has been an icon to the Johnson County community. 

 It was a much-needed healing event for the community who mingled around without masks to show their love to Johnson County, and a man, his former baseball coach Darrin Chapppan, nicknamed CJ. His former teammate Kevin Howard entered a team called CJ’s Reds in honor of his high school nickname and favorite major league baseball team.  The money raised will go toward a scholarship fund in his honor each year.  The event brought out workers like Austin Atwood and his wife Shonna, who spent nearly 13 hours at the park on Saturday helping out. 

“It was such a blessing said Brad’s Widow Tina Reece. “I’ve never met anyone that loved the Lord more, his family more and ball more in that order. Brad was a rare find, and I knew that at a young age.”

They had been together for 31 years. His sons also had this to say.

His oldest son Gabe said. “I was just glad to be coached by him. “It was a lot of fun to play this week with some old friends and meet a lot of new ones.”

Gavin said, “We appreciate everyone coming out, and dad wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.” He was a firm believer that we live every day to the fullest around our family and loved ones. He was a great father and a people person.”

Youngest son Graham added, “It is just so great to know that so many people loved dad. Had he been here, he would have been out there playing too.”

Trent Snyder, his cousin, said, “It was a healing that our community needed. “We lost a lot of good people up here this past year.”

Brad’s Johnson County Bank family entered a team called the “Brad News Bears,” which made everyone chuckle. People there spoke of how Brad was for the common person, how he helped people with their first loan, and much, much more.

“He gave me a chance,” said one woman. “He looked beyond the good credit, bad credit thing and saw me as a person. Not many people do that.”

We could write a book about Brad Reece, and I hope that someday someone will. To say what Brad meant to the Johnson County community, one only had to be at the park over the weekend. Everyone is looking forward to the next time that the community comes together for Brain Cancer Awareness Month. Brad’s memory will never be forgotten. Join me by praying that one day we can find a cure for cancer.