Brook Ravia - A High School Senior Who's Helping Her Friend Fulfill His Ambitions
This week we help Pay it Forward to a high school hero who refuses to fail her friend when it comes to helping him fulfill his ambitions.
Lafayette High School is the backdrop for this Pay it Forward surprise.
That's where senior Brook Ravia plays in the marching band, but her spot on the field each Friday night isn't behind her instrument -- it's behind her best friend.
Pam Rasmussen's son, Cris, plays clarinet for the Rambler's Marching Band, but thanks to his friend, Brook Ravia, marching isn't a requirement.
Pam says, "Brook has given up her time and her spot in our show, in our football season, for the last three years so that she could push Cris (in his wheelchair) and have him be a part of the band, the marching band."
She says Brook even took time to learn the routines when Cris's treatment, related to Spina Bifida, kept him off the field.
"Cris was in the hospital last summer and Brook, even though she didn't have to, she came to summer camp, band camp, so that she would know the show, and when he was released from the hospital he wouldn't be behind."
He is heartfelt in his gratitude for his special band buddy.
"We met in the 6th grade, so we've been best friends since middle school," Cris explains.
Cris and I count out the Pay it Forward cash just before Brook makes her way into the band room.
She is more than surprised when she sees fellow band leaders gathered around Cris and our news camera.
Cris begins, "We've been friends since middle school and I wanted to say 'thank you' for all you've done, for pushing me, on behalf of McMahan Law Firm and Newschannel 9, I would like to Pay it Forward to you."
Brook exclaims, "Oh my gosh. You don't have to!" as he hands her five $100 bills.
The classroom erupts into cheers, clapping and laughter.
Brook says that no matter the challenge she and Cris are a team.
"Even when we go off to different football games and they don't even have an actual ramp he doesn't let that stop him. We'll just either go up the hill or get two or three band mates to help push him up there."
Brook goes on to say, "I think he's an inspiration. Like, he's wheelchair bound but he doesn't let it stop him, because look at all the crazy sports that nobody ever would do in a wheelchair and he does them, and doesn't even think twice about it."
Pam smiles in appreciation and admiration, "If the world were filled with people like her (Brook) it would be a better place."
By the way, both students have bright futures ahead of them.
Cris has been accepted into MTSU's Aviation program and Brook is planning to join the U.S. Army after graduation.
If you'd like to nominate your hometown hero, fill out this online entry form with your desk top or lap top computer.