In the Bold North – a bold pair.
Wesley Campbell saviors the Super Bowl snow with his mentor David Bradburn.
They are three decades apart in age, and 60 degrees Fahrenheit from home. But there's one powerful bond that brought them to Minneapolis for the Big Game.
"I think if you have a heart for giving back, and I was raised like that, then you’re gonna find some way," Bradburn said. "You’re gonna find some way to do that.”
Bradburn had lived in Atlanta five years when he decided to become a Big Brother. He found a boy – Campbell – getting bullied with physical abuse and homophobic slurs. And along the way, discovered a passionate advocate for mentorship.
“I just remember running home, crying a lot, and not understanding what the issue was,” Campbell remembered, with tears escaping his eyes.
“But you made it through it,” Bradburn consoled.
“Yeah, ‘cuz I just don’t think anyone should go through that, especially when it’s not warranted and especially when you had a kid that just, wanted to do good,” Campbell continued.
Campbell found in Bradburn an ear and a voice.
“The more he instilled in me – and how selfless he was – let me know that we were gonna be together for the long haul,” Campbell reflected.
He eventually aged out of the Big Brother program. Campbell went to college in north Georgia and graduated. He now takes care of his nephew. And Bradburn has been there for all of it.
“We create our own families," Bradburn said. "It’s not just your own blood people, but we create families. He’s family.”
Last year, Bradburn wrote his story of family to enter a Super Bowl contest called #CreateChange, run by Microsoft and involving NFL athletes.
"The text came up and said, ‘Russell Wilson has picked you as his grand prize winner.’ And I was like, ‘Huh?’," Bradburn recounted. "And when I told him, you know what his first reaction was? ‘Why couldn’t it have been in Miami?’”
Both chuckled at the memory, while remarking about the Minneapolis cold.
Because of their win, Campbell and Bradburn got free flights Minnesota, free passes to game events, and free tickets to Super Bowl LII itself.
While they had no stake in the game, both say it feels like bold triumph.
“It’s not blood. It was love that kept him here,” Campbell concluded.