Tragically, in the early morning hours of December 22, 2021, Bryant Gladney, age 58, responded to a call on the interstate, and his life was cut way too short.
Bryant was a father, husband, teacher, and coach. The community lost a selfless amazing man, and I lost my best friend and the father of my boys.
Bryant was born in Tucson, Arizona and grew up in Centralia, Missouri. While growing up, and to the day he died, his passions included trains (including model trains) and baseball (St. Louis Cardinals).
Bryant has two sons, Shaun (28) and Jack (12), daughter-in-law, Elizabeth, and wife, Jamie.
Throughout Bryant’s 30+ year career, he was a member of various fire and EMS organizations. He managed multiple ambulance services, worked as an EMT and medic, and ultimately served as the assistant chief of the Training Bureau for Boone County Fire Protection District in Columbia, Missouri.
Bryant’s real passions were teaching and coaching. He was always looking for ways to help others and make things better. Everything he did in life, at work and home, was to help someone else. There are countless EMTs, paramedics, and firefighters who were trained by Bryant. There are also countless kids who were coached in baseball and basketball. He left a legacy that will go on for many years.
Bryant was dedicated to helping “Mrs. Smith.” (He referred to all customers as “Mrs. Smith,” because the person in need was someone’s mother, sister, grandmother, or wife, and should always be treated with respect.) He was also the proudest dad.
If Bryant didn’t know something, he educated himself on the topic. When his younger son, Jack, was told that his dad was gone, he said, “Daddy taught me so much, and now he won’t ever be able to teach me anything again.”
A quote from Bryant’s older son, Shaun, from his eulogy:
He showed me what a loving marriage looks like and why it’s good to spoil your kids. He showed me what it looks like to be at your worst and then, more importantly, how to pick yourself up and climb out of that hole you are in. He taught me to work hard, to live below my means and, most importantly, to help others whenever I could.
If Bryant could speak to anyone who reads this, he would say: Love your family and friends. Work hard. Be honest with each other and especially yourself. Always respect Mrs. Smith and be a good and giving person. Good is never good enough; strive to be better in whatever you do.