BIXBY, Okla. — A Bixby dad is issuing a challenge to fathers worldwide and offering to help with what he calls "the best letter they'll ever write."
Blake Brewer is on a mission to help dads create a lasting legacy. It all traces back to a letter from Brewer's dad, Larry.
"Dad was a big guy," Brewer said. "He had been drafted by the Atlanta Falcons to play football, and his main claim to fame was he was Terry Bradshaw's tight end at Louisiana Tech. When I was 19, we went on a family vacation to Hawaii. Of course, I was excited to go and be there with my dad. We went to the beach the first day we were there."
Brewer's dad got caught in the waves in an area called Witches Brew and drowned.
"It went from one of the best moments in my life to my worst," he said.
Just hours later, Brewer's mother found a letter from his dad meant for him and his siblings in his father's briefcase.
"He had no idea that when he wrote it that it was going to be his last words to me, but it was everything I needed in that moment," Brewer said. "Don't tell me my dad didn't love me."
Brewer says those words comforted him in grief, carried him through college, and inspire him as a dad. Nearly 20 years later, Brewer has turned his painful story into one of positivity by creating the Legacy Letter Challenge.
"I'm on a mission to help one million dads just write one meaningful, lasting legacy letter to their children," Brewer said.
Think of it as a love letter from Dad.
"If you were to put the most powerful thing everyone wants to hear from their dad in one letter. This is it. 'I love you- it's unconditional- anything you do tomorrow wouldn't make me love you any less. And I'm proud of you. It's not for what you have done but for who you are. And life will throw you curveballs, but you've got what it takes. I know you're gonna make it.'"
Brewer says the best time to write one is now, and he's here to help. He has online courses, holds workshops, and has a program for moms. Since starting the challenge two years ago, he's inspired around a thousand letters.
"Some are in the army, some guys are CEOs, some guys work with their hands, religious guys, non-religious guys, all of the above," he said.
All share the same desire to authentically communicate their lasting love for their children.
"I tell dads this letter is for you and your family, but thank you for writing this letter because it does honor my Dad's legacy, too."
It's a tribute to a dad, carried on by dads because legacy is a treasured gift.
Brewer said you don't have to stop at one letter. You can write many throughout your lifetime. Learn more about the Legacy Letter Challenge here.