The world lost a shining light when Reinhardt University student Breanna Chadwick passed away following a tragic accident last July. Chadwick, who was actively pursuing a life of learning and service, had just completed her sophomore year and dreamed of becoming a third-grade teacher.
Chadwick and her family were attending an equestrian event in Chatsworth, Georgia when a rider lost control of a horse in the arena. Not thinking of her own safety, Chadwick stepped up to close the arena gate in an effort to protect other spectators from the runaway horse but was fatally injured in the process.
On Tuesday, Oct. 18, family and friends gathered at Reinhardt University to remember Chadwick and to dedicate Bree’s Corner in the courtyard between Paul Jones and Smith Johnson Halls. Guests wore teal, Chadwick’s favorite color, and shared their memories of her. “She loved the third-grade curriculum,” said Tami Smith, interim dean of the Price School of Education (PSOE), “and she was a huge fan of Dr. Seuss.” Smith also talked about Chadwick’s smile, saying “Her smile was contagious. It’s a smile you just remember.”
Following a prayer and a ribbon cutting, Debby Pinion, assistant professor of elementary education and Chadwick’s advisor, presented a copy of “What if There Were No Teachers?” to Joel Langford, director library services, to be placed in Reinhardt’s Children’s Library in Chadwick’s memory. “Breanna wanted to be a teacher, and this book talks about the importance of teachers,” said Pinion. “If there were no teachers, no one else could do their jobs.” A copy of the book was also given to Chadwick’s mother Kristy.
Chadwick’s father, Heath, said he is very grateful for the dedication of Bree’s Corner to the memory of his daughter. “Knowing that she touched the lives of so many people is special,” he said. “Bree’s Corner is amazing. Anything to carry on her memory is great.”
Chadwick was also honored earlier this month by Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp. In a special commendation, Kemp recognized her selfless acts to help others. “Ms. Chadwick risked her own life to assist others and ensure their safety, and ultimately her decisive actions successfully saved multiple lives,” he wrote. “Ms. Chadwick made a sacrifice that will not be forgotten as her family and community continue to remember her, and it is an honor to recognize her for her act of bravery and the beautiful life she lived.” The commendation from Kemp also recognized Chadwick as an organ donor and the lives that she saved following her death.
The Chadwick family has established the Breanna Leigh Chadwick Memorial Foundation. According to the Foundation’s website, it aims to “educate, serve, and provide aid to the community” and “strives to be the embodiment of Breanna’s virtue, passion, and servant’s heart.” Visit www.thebreannaleigh.com to learn more about their mission and about events happening in the community to honor Chadwick’s legacy and carry out her desire to help others.