PC Community Mourns Alumn Passing
Brett McClean Passes Away in Drowning Accident
Almost a month after the death of former student Brett McLean, social media sites provide a forum for Portland Christian staff and students to say some final words to an alum who left a lasting impact.
McLean, who graduated from PCS in 2005, worked as a counselor at a youth camp in Camas, Wash. He died on July 9th in a drowning accident at White River Falls in Oregon’s Wasco County.
Witnesses reported that McLean died after trying to help a 15-year-old camper who had slipped off the rocks and into the falls. Though onlookers attempted to rescue them, they could not manage to pull McLean and the teenager out of the cold water.
After his death, McLean’s family chose to keep his Facebook page active so that friends and family could express how much he meant to them. He was remembered across the board as a man with a great sense of humor, a love for life, and an amazing relationship with Jesus. Most of the postings on McLean’s Facebook page recalled his ability to unashamedly share the Gospel anytime anywhere.
“He was one of my favorite students and one of those amazing success stories that we can't help but share with each new group of seniors,” Jon Roberts, Department Chair of Bible and Social Studies, wrote to McLean’s family. “A young handsome man who lived for Christ when he could have gotten along just fine in this world with his humor, good nature, and looks. But not Brett he pursued something more, something greater, Christ!”
Cody Hutchin, class of 2008 and McLean’s former high school football teammate, was one of many PC alums to write on McLean’s page. “Three things will last forever--faith, hope, and love--and the greatest of these is love,” Hutchin quoted from 1 Corinthians 13:13. “You have affected so many people Brett. Your influence will echo throughout time.”
Cerisse Wilson, class of 2006, wrote in her message to McLean, “You had this rare ability to make everyone around you light up with laughter, to feel important, and cared for…You led a life of example and so many people are better for having met you.”
A memorial service for McLean was held on July 21 at New Hope Community Church in Happy Valley. Many Portland Christian staff and students attended and shared more stories of McLean’s influence on their lives.
“His courage and passion for life are something that I've always admired ever since I met him freshman year at PC,” Classmate Graham McDonald said. “I'm not at all surprised at seeing the extraordinary impact he's had on so many lives.”
In fact it is his life and not his death that seems to have brought so many Portland Christian alums and staff members together.
Classmate Mike Manus agrees. “Brett,” he wrote on McLean’s Facebook page. “Tell me how he died, I will tell you how he lived."