Bradley’s Resiliency Powers Him Through Adversity, Obstacles

by Clay Brown | Aug 31, 2018
SEYMOUR, Ind. — Growing up, Gary Bradley was around farming, racing and rodeos, so he had been driving a truck for most of his life. Bradley started out his career driving a truck for Rose Acre Farms in May 1981.

Bradley drove for over 25 years with Rose Acre Farms when he began having complications with a heart condition. The condition eventually sidelined Gary from driving a truck, but his time with Rose Acre Farms was not finished.

A spot was made readily available for Bradley to begin work in the shop to help with ordering trucks and other projects. After a brief period of work in the shop, Bradley’s heart condition worsened and he was faced with the decision of whether to go through with a heart transplant.

“I wasn’t sure,” said Bradley. “I wasn’t sure if I wanted to do that or not. I prayed about it a lot. I didn’t know if it was something I should do or if it was God’s way of saying I had enough time on this Earth.”

Bradley later decided that he would try for a heart transplant and put his name on the transplant waiting list. In July 2014, Bradley’s condition declined even further and he was rushed to the emergency room. There, he was fitted with a ventricular assist device to help pump blood throughout his body. Six to eight hours later, a donor was thought to be found by Bradley’s doctors.

After inspecting the new heart, the surgeons then decided that it wouldn’t be a suitable fit for Bradley.

“I felt a little bad about it,” said Bradley. “But I trusted the doctors and their judgement.”

Bradley was then fitted with a separate ventricular assist device which gave doctors 10 to 14 days to find another donor.

“During that time, I really didn’t expect them to find another donor,” said Bradley. “I just didn’t figure they would and I was okay with that. I was prayed up, paid up and ready to go.”

An intravenous fluid tube was then placed into Bradley’s heart with medication that would keep his heart pumping. This method ran the risk of arrhythmia, but Bradley’s pacemaker lowered this risk and the doctors decided this was the best option while they continued to look for a donor.

Early in the morning on Sept. 1, 2014, doctors entered Bradley’s room to inform him they had found a donor. Later that evening, Bradley went into the operating room. A procedure that was expected to last 6 to 8 hours lasted over 12 hours. The new heart was placed successfully, but there were complications with the removal of Bradley’s defibrillator. After having it for over 15 years, it had grown into Bradley’s vascular system which now had to be rebuilt.

During this process, Bradley lost a large amount of blood. After the surgery, Bradley was kept in a coma for nine days. When Bradley finally regained consciousness, it was discovered that he had lost his ability to see.

“I never panicked,” said Bradley. “It wasn’t a big deal. I remember laying there in bed and thinking, ‘How am I going to bale hay if I can’t see where I’m going?’”

Bradley said the discovery never excited him nor depressed him throughout the whole process.

“I just had a calm and peaceful feeling about it – through faith,” said Bradley. “My faith in Christ helped me through that because I never did worry. I was okay.”

Doctors discovered that Bradley’s optic nerves were damaged due to a lack of oxygen during the surgery. Bradley had to go through more rehab than previously anticipated, but he credits his friends and family to have helped get him through it.

“I had a lot of good friends, good church family and a lot of good people here at work,” said Bradley. “Everyone was really supportive. The blind thing never really bothered me much.”

Bradley planned on coming back to work at Rose Acre Farms after the heart transplant, but didn’t know if he could now that he was faced with blindness. After some brainstorming, it was decided that Gary could come back to manage the front desk and welcoming area at the Rose Acre Farms corporate office.

“The IT guys were great,” said Bradley. “By the time I got back, they had programs for the phone and the computer where I could look up phone numbers and everything. It was great.”

Bradley began work at Rose Acre Farms’ corporate office answering phones, greeting visitors and helping organize deliveries. Bradley’s smiling face and quick-witted charisma are the first to greet visitors when they first walk in the door at Rose Acre Farms.

“I just jumped in and started going to work and it was pretty easy after that,” said Bradley. “I knew a lot of the phone numbers and a lot of people from working here so long.”

Bradley has been back at Rose Acre Farms for over three years, but his favorite thing about work remains the same.

“The people,” said Bradley. “There’s a lot of good people here, both now and from the past.”

Although Bradley has lost his sight, it hasn’t impacted his outlook on life.

“My goal in life is just to be a blessing to someone,” said Bradley. “We all have a reason to be here. You don’t know what everyone else is going through. Anything you can do to help someone is what drives me to get up in the morning.”

Bradley is also passionate about sharing his faith with others.

“I want to help others in faith, says Bradley. “I not only enjoy sharing my faith with others but I also know it's what we’re supposed to do. The day I’m called home to heaven, I want to be worn out.”

Bradley says that after everything has happened, he’s still the same person, except for the fact that he can’t see. His mission remains to help everyone he can and to continuously share his faith with others.

“It's okay to lose your sight as long as you don’t lose your vision.”

Rose AcreTM Recipe of the Month

Saint Nick's Eggnog

  • 6 large EGGS
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 4 cups whole milk, divided
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 12 cinnamon sticks for garnish
  1. BEAT eggs, sugar and salt in large heavy saucepan until blended. STIR IN 2 cups milk.
  2. COOK over low heat, stirring constantly but gently, until mixture is just thick enough to just coat a metal spoon with a thin film and temperature reaches 160°F, about 15 minutes. Do not allow to boil. REMOVE from heat immediately.
  3. STIR IN remaining 2 cups milk and vanilla. REFRIGERATE, covered, until thoroughly chilled, several hours or overnight. 
"This is the day which the Lord has made, Let us rejoice and be glad in it." Psalms 118:24