WINCHESTER, England — Cumming resident Gerry Brown proudly represented his family, Forsyth County and his employer — Coca-Cola — as he took to the streets of Winchester, England to carry the 2012 Olympic torch for 300 meters on July 11.
“I am truly honored to have been selected to carry the Olympic torch,” Brown said recently. “My family has known since last August, but had to keep the secret until the official notices were released.”
The father of four recalls it was a bit hard to keep it a secret.
“My wife Shannon and I wanted to share the news with all our friends, but we knew we had to be patient,” Brown said.
The selection process started out during a group meeting at Coca-Cola Refreshments IT Department.
“We were asked if anyone would be interested in applying to carry the torch and folks pointed at me, so I went ahead and filled out the required paperwork,” Brown said.
Brown didn’t think he would be chosen, but says he is thrilled he was picked.
Older sister Ronica Searcy proudly talks about her brother.
“He served in Desert Storm, is a great father and husband, son, and an outstanding brother,” Searcy said. “We are thrilled that he was selected to be a torch bearer. He honors our family and we are very proud of him.”
Searcy describes her brother as, “awesome and amazing.”
Brown believes serving others is the most important aspect of his life.
In addition to working for Coca-Cola Refreshments, Brown is the founder and former president of the non-profit organization, “Because We Care,” that provides community assistance to poor, distressed and underprivileged people.
Through Because We Care, he took many trips to the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina. Since then, Because We Care has transitioned into “Trashwater.org.”
Brown also serves on the board of directors for “Experience Missions International” and Trashwater.org.
By being one of 22 Coca-Cola torchbearers in the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay, Brown said he’s looking forward to hearing the stories of the other torchbearers and how they serve around the world.
“I want to remember and continue our relationships as we go forward in our journeys,” he said in his blog.
Brown spends his free time with his wife and four children, Sean, 18, Gabriel, 15, and 10-year old twins Kayla and Joshua.
He believes this experience will give him insight on ways he can better serve his community.
"The single leg of the relay is but a small component of a greater whole,” he said. “Alone I can make a difference; but together we can change the world.”