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Taking the stairs saved his life!

by Gail Ambrose

One of the original founders of B&W is Jerry Bratton. Jerry is in his eighties and has always been very active. He has been an avid tennis player most of his life and can be found walking his dogs around his neighborhood most afternoons. He had been feeling a little bit tired, but didn’t worry too much over it.
It is no surprise to those of us that know him that he would choose taking the stairs over using an elevator at church. One time, the decision to use the stairs set up a chain of events that likely saved his life! It is important to note that using the stairs next to him, this particular time, was a good friend that happened to be a cardiologist. He thought that Jerry’s breathing didn’t sound quite right and suggested that he make an appointment to see him, for what he suspected to be a leaky valve.
The cardiologist’s suspicion about the leaky valve was confirmed at the appointment. Jerry was then scheduled for a routine exam prior to the surgery to replace the valve. It was then that they discovered that he had 3 major blockages in his arteries! They were over 90% blocked. He was admitted immediately and within a few days had undergone triple bypass surgery.
Jerry’s story could have had a much different ending if he didn’t heed the advice of his doctor. He could have suffered a major heart attack at any moment. We could have lost him without ever knowing there was a problem. The road to recovery has been long but today Jerry is active and grateful to be alive. The moral of Jerry’s story is that if something doesn’t feel right to you, see your doctor, and more importantly, heed their advice! We are very glad that Jerry did!

Missing Ray

by Gail Ambrose

February is heart month.  It is dedicated to heart health and the prevention of heart disease.  We have been touched by heart disease here at B&W far too often in many different ways.  We hope that by sharing some of our stories, it may emphasize the importance of a healthy lifestyle and knowing the signs of heart disease.


I am forever grateful that I can say I was friends with Ray McClanahan. There will never be another quite like him. To say he was one in a million would be an understatement. He was just “that kind of guy.”
He was the kind of guy that if he needed something, but you needed it more, it was yours. The kind whose laughter was so contagious, that if you heard it echoing in the building, you had to know what caused it. He was the kind who never forgot to greet the payroll girl with “Hello Beautiful!” on Fridays, which coincidentally, is payday. Ray was the guy complimenting the cook in our kitchen, always hoping to be rewarded with something delicious. He had the kind of personality that was so large you often wondered how it fit in his small frame.
It was more than his outgoing personality that endeared him to so many. He was a gifted and knowledgeable plumber. His skill and workmanship made him very popular and in demand. Many of our customers considered him “their plumber” and requested him specifically for their plumbing needs. He was also a valuable mentor and trained several of our current plumbers. His perfect blend of knowledge, wisdom and frankness made him a relatable, excellent teacher.
In the winter of 2016, Ray had been having some pain in his legs. Eventually, he decided it was time to see a doctor. One week before his scheduled appointment, Ray suffered a massive heart attack that took his life.
The loss of Ray McClanahan has been devastating. He left behind his loving wife, Julie, his beloved pets, family, friends, loyal customers, and a work family that adored him. We all feel the sting of Ray’s absence every day. The hardest part are the questions that can’t be answered. What could have been done to prevent this? Were there other signs that were missed?
Ray McClanahan is irreplaceable. There will never be another like Ray. He was one of a kind. YOU are also irreplaceable. There isn’t another like you for your family and friends. You are also one of a kind. No one can benefit from your knowledge and wisdom if you aren’t here to share it. Heart disease isn’t just about the patient. It has a ripple effect that touches everyone.
Heart disease is often called the silent killer, and it truly was in this case. The symptoms of heart disease are often brushed off as something else. It is important to know the signs and seek help if you are experiencing any. If you are unsure of where to look, start at The American Heart Association’s website,