BRENHAM, WASHINGTON COUNTY On April 10, Blinn College Academic Advisor Brad Hall will celebrate the first anniversary of the day he survived.
Prior to that date last year, Hall never experienced pain, discomfort or shortness of breath. But a routine check-up led a doctor to test Hall’s blood flow, revealing that he had 90 percent blockage in his coronary arteries.
Two days later, Hall went in for what was originally scheduled as triple bypass surgery, but escalated to a quadruple bypass procedure. After eight hours on the operating table, Hall came out OK, but would need extensive rehabilitation to survive the battles that would follow his bout with death.
“There is a verse in Proverbs—just as iron sharpens iron, man sharpens man,” Hall said. “Well, I needed sharpening.”
Cue Camilo Torres (Dallas), a second-year student co-enrolled at Blinn and Texas A&M University through the Transfer Enrollment at Texas A&M (TEAM) Program. Torres’ first semester was not off to a good start as he struggled to adjust to college life. At risk of failing one of his classes, Torres stopped by Hall’s office one evening to discuss his academic options.
“Mr. Hall made me feel much better and more confident,” Torres said. “He assured me this was just a small setback and that I could recover.”
Torres decided to take a review class for the course over a mini-mester, then retook the course in the Spring, earning an A on his final exam and a B average in the course. He is on track to earn his associate’s degree in June and become a full-time Texas A&M engineering student in the Fall.
“I’d never spoken with an advisor on that level,” Torres said. “A lot of it was the logistics of school, but he also connected with me on a personal level and really believed in me. I don’t think I would be where I’m at now if it wasn't for Mr. Hall.”
Over several advising sessions, Torres learned about Hall’s surgery and Hall learned of Torres’s passion for weight training.
For five weeks during the summer following Hall’s surgery, Torres gave up his Saturday mornings to help his advisor regain his strength.
“He guided me hour upon hour. It was detailed, it was supportive. He never laughed at me—at least not at my face,” Hall said, laughing.
Since following Torres’s fitness advice, Hall has lost more than 32 pounds and has added years to his life, according to his doctor.
“The pounds have come off and the muscle mass has increased,” Hall said, flexing his bicep. “These guns are not guns. They are still little pistols. But there weren't any muscles there before.”