Feedback for Presentations
I just want to let you know that your presentation at our school just saved one of our student’s lives. You came to speak to us just a few weeks ago. We learned that this weekend there was a party and one of the students passed out. Because of what they learned from your story they were scared, but decided to get help for their friend. They put the life of their friend above the chance of them getting in trouble. The student had to be air lifted out and put on a ventilator. If they wouldn’t have called for help, he surely would have died. Even though it’s unfortunate that the student did drink as much as he did to get to that point, I am glad that his friends realized how serious his condition was. I just wanted to let you know that your story helped save a life!
As principal of Swan River School, I am honored to provide feedback regarding your presentation to our fifth, sixth and seventh grade students as well as to parents and our teachers on May 24, 2007. I cannot express in words how pleased I am about your passion, courage, love, and honor for your son Kevin. Turning this tragic event into a positive learning experience for our youth, parents, and staff has left a lasting impression with us all.
The issue of alcoholism is one that every child, teenager, and adult faces during our wonderful lifetime. Although our young children think that they know everything, they need many tools when facing peer pressure, relationships, and dealing with difficult situations. This presentation has made all of us at Swan River School more aware about the dangers of alcoholism. It has assisted us with our guidance presentations, our health classes, and assists us with our school rules.
Swan River School praises you, your wife, and family. Many of our students, as well as myself, are interested in joining you for your last 3 miles of your journey in Kalispell on July 1, 2007.
Thank you again for your time, effort, courage, and passion to keep your son’s life alive and meaningful for all of us. We will keep Kevin and your family in our thoughts and prayers as you continue to share this important message and continue to live your lives without this loved one. As I stated at the end of the presentation, “I know that Kevin is looking down at you and your family with a smile.” Your love for him is strong and has made a lasting impact on all of us here in Bigfork, Montana. You’re amazing!
On behalf of the Palmer RTC on Lazy Mountain, I wanted to express our appreciation for the time you took to share your very personal and compelling message to our youth. Our youth were touched and were still talking about your presentation today. I truly believe that you made an enormous impact on many of our youth and with hope they have learned a lesson from your son’s unfortunate death if they are ever in similar circumstances! Your message was well received and we wish you the best in carrying Kevin’s legacy to many more youth in the future.
First and foremost, let me say how sorry I am for the loss of your son, Kevin. I can’t imagine what your family has had to endure. The reason for my letter is that I want you to know what an impact you had on my son recently when you spoke at his high school in Fountain Hills. I believe you spoke on a Thursday or Friday. It wasn’t until a few days later that he brought it up first to me in private and then again later with the family at the dinner table. He was very touched by the story of your son. He was very saddened by the broken heart that you are left to deal with. My son Joe is going to be fifteen next month. He is a great kid with a lot to look forward to. This past summer, we found out through his older sister that he was sneaking out in the middle of the night (after we had been long asleep) to drink with his buddies.
I was absolutely stunned. In the few days that it took me to have an alarm system installed, I caught him coming back in the house, very drunk. We knew we had to take drastic measures. We took him to counseling, etc. We told him more than once that kids can die (accidentally) by drinking in excess. But I really don’t think he believed us.
I now know in my heart that he has been changed by your visit that day to his health class. I have been getting more I love yous and hugs. Every few days, I catch him shaking his head, and when I ask what’s going on, he either tells me he can’t believe you are going to walk that far, or how sad he is about your tragedy.
Over the Christmas holiday, I had all of our old videos transferred to DVD. The kids had not seen them ever. For the first time, he saw himself as a little boy growing up. The reason I mention this is that he talked about watching the movie you had of Kevin growing up and realized that this could happen to any young man—like himself—who just made a mistake.
We will be praying for you on your journey. Again, thank you for sharing your story.
“I was at your MADD presentation last night and haven’t been able to sleep. I can’t get your presentation out of my head. I have never been touched as much as you touched my heart last night.”
J. L. E.
“I was very touched by your sons story it was a true eye opener”
“As hard as this journey has been for my daughter and us, as her parents, it has been full of gifts. Hearing you speak tonight was one of those gifts. My daughter and I won’t forget you, Kevin and your journey. Wanted you to know you had an impact on our lives.”
Feedback for Book
I just finished reading your book. When I bought it I wasn’t sure if it would be one of those books you buy and mean to read, but never do, or if I actually would read it. I started it last Thursday, and I honestly found it very compelling and easy to read. Good job and amazing story. I found it to be very “real”, obviously written from the heart.
In one of your footnotes you mentioned being told about a boy whose friends knew to get him help when he passed out because of one of your talks. That’s some powerful work you’ve been doing Barry! I’m sure your son is very proud of you.
As a volunteer with child cancer patients I’ve witnessed the tragedy of pre-announced death several times. But as difficult as it is to live through months or years dreading the inevitable end, this book made me wonder if the sudden, unexpected death of a child might be even worse.
This is the incredible but true story of a father whose normal, nonalcoholic teenaged son died of alcohol poisoning. A tragedy like this would destroy many families, but despite the agony this man suffered he decided to make something good come out of it, and he succeeded. He walked 1,400 miles from Arizona to Montana, speaking to thousands of students in schools along the way about the danger of alcohol.
Many more people die from alcohol than from all illegal drugs combined. Young people need to learn that if someone becomes unconscious after drinking he should be rushed to a hospital immediately. Never let someone “sleep it off.” The lack of publicity about how deadly alcohol can be is a national disgrace.
When I was a teenager in a large urban school I knew two boys who died of alcohol poisoning on separate occasions. This book is an inspiration for all of us to educate young people to prevent tragedies like this from happening again and again, to do something constructive with your life instead of wallowing in self-pity, and to appreciate and value your child’s life and health while you can.
A truly inspiring story that is full of only real, touching moments. As a rising senior in college, I have learned a lot from reading this book. While at a young age there are times I feel “invincible”, Kevin and Barry’s story taught me how precious life is and how to live it to the fullest. This is a must read for all ages alike. It’s a touching story that will make you laugh and cry many times as you connect to the story on a deep level. Really an exceptional story!
“I stayed up until 1:00 a.m. laughing and crying as I read Barry’s book”
A tragic and inspiring story “That something very good will come from this” to all that read this book.
To any parent that wants to reach out to their teenager and a lesson every teenager should know about.
By the end, I promise you both a different look on life.
I was so moved by this well written book/journal that I read it in 2 days! It was both inspirational and awakening. You really understand the dangers of drinking along with the love of a dedicated father. I felt like I was on this long journey with Barry. From the steep hills to the bad weather it was like I was walking right along with him. I highly recommend this book, especially if you have teenage children.
You will be inspired by Barry’s awesome faith and strength to overcome great odds while sharing his story with students and parents along the journey.
As a radio show host, on A2Zen.fm, I read a lot of books, but rarely do I find one so inspirational and compelling that I can’t stop reading. Kevin’s Last Walk made me cry, made me laugh and made me feel I was right along side of Barry for the entire 1400 miles, (except my legs and feet don’t hurt). This is a book that everyone should read, whether you are a parent, a teenager or someone that knows a parent or teenager, (Dah, I think that’s everyone, unless you live under a rock). Oh, and did I say I couldn’t stop reading?
Alcohol related deaths affect just about everyone and yet Barry decided to make a difference and make sure that Something Very Good Would Come from His Loss. If just one person is spared the grief that Barry suffered with the loss of Kevin, because they read this book…