One local Virginia Tech student is back home. Lincoln County graduate Brandon Barden arrived late Tuesday afternoon to see his family.
Anyone who followed Lincoln County football will certainly remember quarterback Brandon Barden. The state title holder graduated early to start classes at Virginia Tech this January at only 17 years old. Little did he know, his dream of football glory would lead him to be a part of a national tragedy.
Virginia Tech freshman Brandon Barden couldn't make the trip home to Lincolnton fast enough.
"Woke up early this morning and told my boys I was going home. Packed my stuff up and I was the first one gone,” said Barden.
And Brandon’s family couldn't have been happier to see all 6 feet 5 inches of him.
"A lot of relief, because I had been scared you know," said his father, Mike Barden.
"It’s a relief. I love coming home to see my family and friends and it’s just a relief when I got all the way back and to be safe," said Brandon Barden.
Older sister Brittany made her way in from Milledgeville and skipped her own classes for this.
"To see his dorm all over TV and to be like, oh my gosh, that's where my brother lives, was extremely scary. Just not knowing, I mean, he's my little brother and I try to watch out for him and try to take care of him," said Brittany Barden.
Brandon was one of the lucky ones. The first shots were fired in his dorm, and on any normal day, he might have met the shooter face to face. But, on Monday, football may have saved his life.
"I’m just glad I had a football meeting and woke up early because any other day I would've been walking out at the same time he was coming in," said Brandon Barden.
Barden says he didn't learn about the shootings until after a test. He says the team spent the rest of the day watching it all unfold on TV.
"As the day went on and more people died, it just got worse and worse. Nobody was moving on campus. We were just all together."
Now, being together again at home is a blessing the Barden family won't soon forget.
And miles from campus, this Hokie is still trying to come to grips with the tragedy.
"I don't know because it hasn't really hit us how big of an event this is you know, because we were in it. It's a little different on the outside looking in but I’m just thankful we're all safe."
Barden plans to rest and eat at some of his favorite restaurants while home. He says he plans to head back to school on Sunday and says he is looking forward to taking finals and putting this semester behind him.
As for his team, the school's spring game scheduled for Saturday, like so many other events there, has been cancelled.