Bob Roen, Mike’s heart recipient, has made it his mission in life to talk to as many people as possible about becoming organ donors. On November 11, 2008, six days before Mike’s 24th birthday, Bob spoke at New Trier High School in Illinois.
“I continue to share the Mike Jr. story with high school kids, college students, civic groups and anyone else that invites me to speak,” says Bob. “I do it to help keep his memory alive. It makes me feel good and it may spur someone to become an organ and tissue donor. I have worn through two pictures of Mike, Jr. over the past six years showing his face to the audience.”
“Well last Tuesday, I was asked to speak at New Trier High School in Winnetka. I was accompanied by two Chicago Bears players. They got the kids in the door and I spoke. After the assembly we were interviewed by Fox News. They used the part of the interview with one of the Bears for TV, but I didn’t make the cut. We were also interviewed by mouthpiecesports.com and you can view that interview online.”
Bob was at New Trier High School as part of a presentation of Youth for Life, an organization created to remember Walter Payton of the Chicago Bears. Click on the image above to view the interview. It is a great one.
On the opening day of Lakes of the Four Seasons Little League, May 3, 2003, the Major/Minor field at Cleveland Park was dedicated in Mike’s memory.
Mike was a LOFS player from T-Ball to Junior League. He umpired games and when he was finished with Little League, he returned as a District One Certified Umpire. Mike played on many All-Star teams from Minors to Majors. The LOFS Board of directors decided that dedicating the field would honor “Mikey” for all he did for LOFS as a player and volunteer. The first pitch of the 2003 season was thrown out by Mike’s brother Ryan.
Opening Day Video
To view the video you will need Windows Media Player installed. Most computers already come with Media Player, but if yours doesn’t you can download the player for free by clicking here.
Be sure to turn up the volume on your speakers!
Crown Point Star – July 31, 2003
Lauren Angel doesn’t know exactly what she wants to do with the rest of her life but after last Tuesday she has an extra hand to help guide her.
The recent Crown Point High School graduate is definitely going to enroll at Indiana University in Bloomington in a few short weeks. Angel is interested in studying journalism law. She has a strong background in journalism, having been one of the editors of the high school yearbook. She is also deeply involved in theater.
The possibilities for this 18-year-old — and the other six graduated seniors who received the first Michael Brown Jr. Scholarships on July 22 — are endless.
The scholarships — two $1,000 awards and five $500 awards — were given by the family of Michael Brown Jr., a member of Crown Point’s Class of 2002 who died in an automobile accident last September.
Mike’s parents — Mike Sr. and Kim — wanted a way to keep their son’s memory alive. They’ve succeeded with a highly successful golf out, which took place July 13, through the scholarship fund and through various donations to community organizations that Mike held dearly to his heart.
Angel, Megan Reid, Brian Murphy, Allison Isailovich, Matt Mahoney, Nicole Smoljan and Wendy Kurcz weren’t members of Mike’s graduating class. This group was a year behind Mike. But Angel had an art class with Mike and her locker stood close to his. In a school with more than 2,000 students, it’s difficult to know everyone of your immediate classmates, let along your schoolmates. But Mike made a lasting impression on Angel and hundreds, if not thousands of people in his 18 years of life.
Mike was mature beyond his years, as comfortable in the presence of adults as with his peers. Even I brushed shoulders with the young man, having officiated a few junior high basketball games with him a couple winters ago. I don’t remember every official I’ve worked with over the years, but Mike made an impression.
During a timeout, I asked Mike how long he had been officiating, and he told me “about a year or so.” He said he was a senior at Crown Point and had taken Tom May’s officiating class.
I couldn’t believe Mike was a high school student.
The way he held himself, his poise, his maturity; I knew this young man would make a difference some day. I didn’t know until after his death that Mike had already begun making an impact, working with youth basketball leagues, baseball leagues and the Crown Point Civil Defense.
As I watched the sun fall over Pheasant Valley Golf Course during the scholarship presentation, I wondered why such a brilliant life, so full of potential, had to set so soon.
The pride in the eyes of the scholarship winners belied the lingering sadness of the Browns’ loss, the initial fears of going to college, the apprehensions of adulthood. Where exactly will I become and how will I get there?
Mike had a strong sense of what he would become and a zealous plan of action.
His parents and siblings — Ryan and Kendall — are bound to keep Mike’s dreams alive so that they may be realized by Crown Point High School graduates and Crown Point community members years down the road.
The Browns have started with an exceptional group of scholarship winners, a group that will surely take a piece of Mike with them through their college careers and wherever they end up in the world. And that’s a wonderful living memory.
Crown Point Star – October 3, 2002
If you scan the obituaries on a regular basis in the local newspapers, you may have come across the death of an 18-year-old man from Crown Point, who left this life on September 20 in an untimely car accident. His name was Mike Brown. What no obituary can tell you is what a remarkable young man he was.
Mike touched a very large circle of friends and acquaintances that extended out much further than his devoted family — Mike Sr., Kim, Ryan and Kendall — ever knew. He served as a proud member of the Crown Point Civil Defense and was a youth basketball referee, coach and Little League umpire. Hundreds and hundreds of mourners waited in line to give the family Mike loved so much, their condolences. No matter how long or how little they had known Mike, each and every one of them was greatly affected. This young man simply made the type of impression not easily forgotten.
Mike, who graduated from Crown Point High School this past June, had tremendous promise. To a person who knew him, the remarks were constant: “kind”, “funny”, “special”, “completely directed”, “full of potential” and most definably, “a great kid.” He was the kind of young man you hoped your daughter would marry, or your son would grow up to be.
Mike’s ambitions were solidly in the direction that reflected his character. He wanted to work in law enforcement, and as he told me at his open house this past July, he was planning a career with the FBI or Secret Service. Anyone who knew Mike never doubted for a moment he would attain his goals, and we are all sad that we will never be able to see his joy in fulfilling them. His ambition was to serve and protect, and in the end, he performed the ultimate service by passing along the gift of life to at least four individuals who were waiting for life-saving transplants.
Brownie had a strong circle of friends who reflected his ideals and character. It is hard for these young people to make sense of the loss of such a special person so close to themselves. But it is important for them to remember that as much as Mike believed in his own dreams, he also believed in his friends and their dreams as well. The greatest testament they can make to his memory is to become everything he believed they would be. Mikey would expect nothing less.
Crown Point, you have lost one of your best and brightest sons. I thought you should know.