Braedon Hyland Shirts Sell Fast, Stir Up Memories
Braedon Hyland can still be seen throughout the hallways of East Ridge and Woodbury high schools. He lives on through his many friends and classmates, who keep him in their hearts— as well as in their wardrobes.
The untimely death of the 18-year-old in an October car accident devastated the Woodbury community. While shaken, Hyland’s friend Noel Salazar knew he had to do something.
“I saw how greatly everyone was affected and I didn’t want to just sit there and mourn,” Salazar says. “I wanted to do something about the situation, something positive.”
Salazar, with the help of some friends, came up with the idea to create T-shirts to memorialize Hyland and sell them to fundraise for the families of Hyland and Blake Sowle—who is now out of the hospital after leaving the crash in critical condition. Salazar has now sold approximately 750 of the 950 shirts he ordered.
“I see the shirts everywhere,” says Salazar, who sold them at Woodbury and East Ridge high schools. “I am happy that I was able to make so many people smile after this incident, especially the family. I am proud to go to school or out to eat and see people wearing the shirts that I put so much work into, but all for a greater cause.”
Salazar is selling two variations of the shirt for $15 each. The black shirt has a picture of Hyland on the bottom left of the front. On the back, it reads “Rest in Peace” and “You touched the lives of so many of us & a special person like yourself is someone we will Never Forget” and “#23 (his hockey number) Braedon Hyland.” The front of the white shirt has a picture of Hyland on the bottom right with “Forever Young” on the bottom of the picture. Across the chest, it reads “We lost a great man, but we have gained a guardian angel forever with us.” On the back top it reads “BH #23” and “Real Sick Buddy” (a popular saying of his), and the bottom reads “7/14/93-10/13/11 Never Forgotten.”
Designing, ordering and distributing such a large quantity of shirts in such a short period of time to fit the high demand was no easy task. Salazar missed some class while selling the shirts at lunch, and estimates spending about 1-3 hours a day after school. But Salazar, who credits friends Ruth Cress, Allie Zimmer, Nicholas Murphy, Shawn Wonsmos and Jordan Andrews for helping him, didn’t look at the time and energy spent on the project as a chore. Rather, it’s an opportunity to reflect on life and remember his friend.
“It has made me think a lot about how life is so precious and how it could be taken away so fast,” Salazar says. “It also has made me think a lot about Braedon and all our good times together. But it has just made me accept that he is in a better place, and to cherish the times we had before and to be happy that I met him.”
To order a shirt, email Salazar or call or text him at 818.486.6424.
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