A self-proclaimed tech guru, Brandyn loves computers, whether it’s fixing them or building his own. Along with this affinity comes a devotion to online gaming. Much like a good video game character, Brandyn has leveled up to become a generous, charismatic man with a heart of gold.
Brandyn joined the Air Force in 2010. He became a Electrical and Environmental Systems Specialist, which in layman’s speak, means that he was in charge of keeping “anything with a wire going to it” running smoothly. He spent 4 years in the service at McGuire Air Force Base in New Jersey. During that time he participated in 2 hurricane evacuations, which involved flying around the hurricane and landing in North Carolina to support the medevac mission. One of his favorite trips was a support mission to Ascension Island, between South America and Africa. President Obama attended the funeral of Nelson Mandela and Ascension Island was the half way point on the trip for refueling and maintenance. The water was crystal clear and was great for fishing. Their plane “broke” in the Virgin Islands on the return flight, necessitating a 5 day layover in the tropical paradise. Some people have all the luck.
When asked how the military changed him, Brandyn replied that before joining up, he was “undisciplined and lazy. It made me more modest and giving.” The Air Force required a volunteer commitment so Brandyn searched for an opportunity that would really matter to him and found the Extra Life Campaign. In a nutshell, he live-steams the video games he plays, showing both the gaming screen and himself. He chats, explains strategy, and talks about Extra Life. Players choose a charity to support, and when someone donates a notification pops up on the screen for everyone to see.
“Extra Life is a Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals fundraising program that empowers the gaming community to make a difference in the lives of local sick and injured kids. Participants fundraise year-round and during a 24-hour gaming marathon each fall. Extra Life unites thousands of players around the world in a 24 hour gaming marathon to support Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. Since its inception in 2008, Extra Life has raised more than $30 million for local CMN Hospitals.” –Extra Life website
Brandyn chose DeVos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids as his charity. In his 6th year of participation, he has raised a little over $4,000 by live-streaming his gaming. In 2014 he was a top money raiser and had the opportunity to visit DeVos and meet some children he was helping with his fundraising. While there, he and the other 2 visiting gamers had a small competition where Brandyn won a Nintendo 3DS. Since he already had one, he generously gifted it to one of the kids, which of course, made both of their days.
This giving spirit and attention to detail translates well to his job as the Lead Assistant Venue Coordinator at Castle Farms. He was always interested in the A-Z of how a wedding worked behind the scenes, so when his sister Autumn, a Castle Venue Coordinator, mentioned that the Castle was hiring, Brandyn jumped at the chance. After being hired, he was convinced he was never going to find his way around the sprawling property. Some of Brandyn’s favorite games are set in the 14th and 15th centuries, and he loved that the Castle made him feel like he was in Europe during those times. His job keeps him busy helping out the other Assistants, supervising events, and jumping in where needed. “I love seeing the magic in people’s eyes when they see the Castle for the first time. It’s the same look I had.”
There was more than a little magic happening, as it turns out. On his first day, he met MaryAnn. He turned a corner, saw her, and “time slowed down.” Brandyn assures us that he’s “not one for cheesy, but he can’t deny it.” Her first words to him were to ask where the Butterfly Garden was located. Now a happy couple, Brandyn celebrated MaryAnn’s birthday with a gift of a butterfly necklace in homage to their first words.
We at the Castle consider ourselves lucky to work with such a respectful, generous man. If you would like to donate to Devos Children’s Hospital through Brandon’s Extra Life Campaign, follow this link: www.extra-life.org/brandyn.davis