GREENSBORO, N.C. — While Rich Brenner retired from FOX8 in 2008, he was still very busy in the community, especially with charities.
Rich was at a Red Cross charity event called Salute to Heroes when he collapsed and later died Monday.
Besides thanking first responders and other heroes in attendance, he talked about building a veterans memorial at Triad Park in Kernersville. He had been working on the 8.5-acre Carolina Field of Honor for four years.
Earlier in the day, Rich had spent 10 hours with Robert O’Hanlon with the War Memorial Foundation as they worked on fundraising and support. Rich spent part of the day making calls to donors.
“As you know, Rich is very passionate about that. We had a great day yesterday, and we had a great time last night at the services for the Red Cross, and we sure hated to lose him last night,” O’Hanlon said.
Rich also called Operation Smile in Greensboro on Monday to let them know about a boy in Randolph County. Rich said a school bus driver told him about the boy, but he was going to call the charity back Tuesday with more information.
“We’re going to find this child,” said Beth Marshall with Operation Smile. “It would just be the icing on the cake to find this child for Rich. He just always really wanted to help people. That was his main thing in life.”
Minutes after this story aired at 6 p.m. Tuesday, the bus driver called to say she was going to contact Operation Smile on Wednesday.
As for the veterans memorial, O’Hanlon said Rich, a Marine, never wanted anyone to forget how much their veterans sacrifice.
“The saying is ‘A country that forgets its past will also be forgotten,’ and Rich believed that,” O’Hanlon said. “He wanted to have an opportunity for generations to come and learn about the services and those who served.”
O’Hanlon said he is working on giving Rich, a Marine, military honors at his funeral.
The family is asking people to donate to one of three charities close to rich in lieu of flowers. Besides the Carolina Field of Honor with the War Memorial Foundation, the others are Victory Junction and the UNC-Greensboro Rich Brenner Scholarship Fund.
Find all our Rich Brenner coverage here.