Raising a champion of champions: Franklin Academy athlete gives gold medal from sectional win to Gouverneur coaches in memory of Brennan Stevens
by Rachel Hunter
After winning the Section 10 title in the triple jump, Franklin Academy (Malone) Track Athlete William Bilow with blue ribbon and gold medal in hand walked over to Track and Field Coordinator John Tebo – and asked if he could give them to the Gouverneur Central School coaches in honor of Brennan Stevens.
Brennan Stevens, the son of Gordon and Karen Stevens of Gouverneur, passed away in an automobile accident in the fall. In addition to being well-known force on the football team, he won the Section 10 title in the triple jump last spring.
Mrs. Stevens said Brennan and William were always pushing each other to their personal best in track, setting goals, and enjoyed watching each other achieve.
At the start of the track season, William Bilow spoke to his mother and told her that, if he won the triple jump title, he would give his medal to the Gouverneur coaches to honor Brennan Stevens so she was not surprised when Mr. Tebo asked her about it.
The next morning William Bilow wrote Gordon and Karen Stevens on Facebook, and tears poured as they read the following:
“Last night I won the triple jump at sectionals. I gave my medal to the indoor track chairman in hope it finds you. Brennan would have won it, so it’s only right that you guys have it. You have a great family, and are always kind whenever I see you, and I can’t thank you enough. It means a lot. Love and prayer, William.”
Mr. Stevens responded as follows: “What an unbelievable act of sportsmanship this young man has shown.
“To the people of Malone and the North Country, you have a champion of champions. It takes a community to help raise a family but it takes a special kind of family to raise an individual such as this.
“The kindness, thoughtfulness, selflessness, and respect of this young man we cannot say we have ever seen before… Whenever we saw him at competitions, he was always kind and courteous to all around.
“To the Bilow family, you should be very proud of yourselves for raising such an amazing wonderful young man.”
Gordon and Karen Stevens along with the entire Gouverneur community wish William Bilow success at the New York NYSPHSAA Indoor Track and Field State Championships on March 4 at The Ocean Breeze Track and Field Center on Staten Island.
Karen Stevens told the Gouverneur Tribune Press that she and her husband plan to attend the state championships, believing that they would be going anyway if Brennan were still alive.
Gordon and Karen Stevens said they plan to send William Bilow to track camp at St. Lawrence University this summer. Ever since accident last fall, the couple has wanted to send two student athletes to the camp in Brennan’s memory – and they are honored to be able to send a student who is so deserving.