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Brandt Henri
Crashed, flipped and submerged into cold water— these three things describe the perilous rafting trip of Brandt Henri, senior, that put himself and his family in danger.  Even though Henri doesn’t have many “irrational fears,” his fear of harm to his family became imminent that day.

Around three years ago on the Clackamas River, Henri and his family members found themselves on one of their first rafting trips.  Their raft was suddenly pulled into a strong current, and they headed straight for a pillar-- and as soon as the raft hit the pillar, it flipped and everyone spilled out.

Henri’s family members were almost instantly scattered, and although his young sister, Mira, was nowhere in sight, he knew she was literally within an arm’s reach when he lunged under the raft and pulled her up from the water.

“I thought that she was just going to come back up naturally ‘cause she had a life jacket on,” Henri said.  “But then as time went on --and it was just seconds at most- she was still down there, so I wasn’t sure what was going on.  I reached down to grab onto something and luckily I caught hold of her life jacket.”

It was just their luck that several divers were out ensuring safety that day.  They helped the family gather and find safety.

“[The divers] were grabbing people that fell out of their rafts and pulling people out of the water, ‘cause apparently that’s a dangerous spot,” Henri said.

Although the Henris were shaken by this experience, things were able to proceed normally, just as they had when they moved from San Jose, Calif., due to Henri’s father’s job as an engineer.  Brandt himself cannot remember the move.

“I was three years old,” Henri said.  “I met most of my friends through church, and then in preschool I got some friends too.”

One of Henri’s hobbies is recreational soccer, which he’s played since kindergarten or first grade.  He hasn’t felt the need to be too competitive in the sport, as he mostly does it for enjoyment.

“Considering you’ve done rec soccer all your life, I don’t think playing classic or anything is necessary,” Henri said.

Although Henri doesn’t regret being too competitive in sports at a young age, he wishes he would have picked up an instrument when he was younger, such as piano.  Still, he says he still wouldn’t overextend himself and rehearse for anything more than small gatherings or concerts.

When Henri’s father partook in a bike trip from Seattle to Vancouver this summer, Henri was able to go on a similar three-day journey of his own.  He followed the bike trip into Canada to pick up his father, driving himself into Canada, Vancouver and Victoria-- all independently.  His passage across the border was done via ferry; he was surprised at how few complications were involved in the transition.  He was even more impressed with himself when he managed small matters and took responsibility.

“I definitely took away more experience, independence and doing things on my own,” Henri said.  “I took away more real-world experiences that I might have to experience later.”

While Henri can see himself being a college senior in four years, perhaps at the University of Washington, in ten year’s time he can see himself settled down with a chosen career.  Until then, he concentrates on his studies, concentrates on the soccer ball and watches out for his family.

 

Brandt Henri, Staff Writer

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