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‘Jayson, the Protector’ by Hailey Pattenaude, 3rd place winner in the ‘America and Me’ essay contest

Several thousand eighth grade students from over 400 Michigan schools participated in the 2014-15 “America and Me Essay Contest,” which was conducted with the help of Farm Bureau Insurance agents across the state.

Beach Middle School’s participation in the essay contest was sponsored by Farm Bureau Insurance Agent Rick Eder.

The topic of this year’s contest was “My Personal Michigan Hero,” and three students from Beach Middle School were recently named local winners of the 46th annual contest. Each of their essays will be published in Chelsea Update.

First up, the third place winner.

Jayson, the Protector
By Hailey Pattenaude

Some say a hero is someone who saves lives or does something brave and bold.

But my hero is just an ordinary 20 year old. He stayed strong through the worst of times when he lost his half-sister/best friend.  He had to deal with his father lying to him and abandoning him as a child.
This man’s name is Jayson Gibson.  And I am proud that he is my brother.

Jayson’s mother is named Rebecca and she was the second wife.  My mother was the third.  I never knew my father because by the time I was born my father left my family. I only ever saw him twice, once when I was six months old and again when I was two.  So I don’t remember him, but Jayson does.

Me and my other brother Cody met Jayson when I was seven and Cody was nine.  I was extremely elated when I found out I had a brother who could help me understand who our father was and what he was like.  Also, he knew what Cody and I had to go through.  Which it made me excited and terrified at the same time.  I was excited that I would finally know what my father was like.  But at the same time, I was terrified that I may not like what I hear.

Although, when he did tell me what our father was like, I was in tears.  I was so upset that I never got to see what he looked like.  But Jayson brought me some old pictures and a phone number.

He said to me, “Hailey, I want you to call him.  If you’re scared, just know I will always be here for you, because that’s what big brothers are supposed to do.  And if he says anything that hurts your feelings, either hang up, or give me the phone.”

Then we stood there for about two minutes and I felt so heart warmed and moved that I was still crying, then he whispered and he finally said, “I love you, and I will protect you if anything happens.”  And so, I made the call, and I never regretted it.

Jayson is my hero because he gave me the chance of a lifetime.  At that time I wanted to hug him until I fell asleep but I couldn’t because I wanted to remember every second of this moment.  Ever since that day, I was so thankful that I didn’t know my father.  Jayson is my hero, and he is my protector and I will always love him for what he did.

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