Friday, January 27, 2012

The "Will" Ball - How it all Started!

My brother William Aaron Burnes lost his battle to cancer on March 13, 2006.  He was a Commercial Fisherman in Alaska for 10 years. I give you this information for a reason; read on!

My husband Brady and our daughter decided to go golfing one day at the Cedar Hills, Utah Golf course (just 3 months after my brothers passing). While on the course, Brady takes a few practice swings and is about to tee off on the first hole when a guy about 18 years of age who worked at the golf course said...
"hey, do you need a golf ball?" 
Brady said "no I have plenty"
He responded, "here have this one",
and without further hesitation, the young guy threw the golf ball to Brady. As Brady caught it, he saw the word "WILL" professionally printed on the ball. As he turned the ball around he saw a picture of a bear with a fish in it's mouth with the word "Alaska" printed below the image. Brady was speechless and overwhelmed at that moment. He knew that my brother Will was still with us, and he wanted it to be known.  

I often wonder who that boy was, and why he felt so impressed to give the ball to Brady even though he refused his offer. I also wonder where that ball came from in the first place. Was this a ball my brother had professionally designed while in Alaska and somehow through his hands, it made it back to us? I wish I knew. Someday I Will.

As Brady relayed this miraculous encounter to me, I knew at that moment what I was suppose to do; I needed to find our ancestors and continue Will's work. I tried to rethink the impossible scenario and mend my thoughts of  inadequacy, but the only form of genealogy I had was a restaurant napkin that Will wrote a few notes on before his passing; something I will treasure forever!  I knew nothing about my ancestors, how to begin, or how to build our family tree, but I knew I had a responsibility, and Will would guide me. I knew this!

For the past 6 years, the "Will" Ball has been in my office with an assurance that my brother is close by.  Today, we have over 7,000 ancestors that we are proud of and feel a strong connection to because of Will.  I picked up where he left off in his research and I am honored to be the vessel for his great work. 

William Aaron Burnes 
May 29, 1967 - March 13, 2006
Semper Fi  (Always Faithful)
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