Nineteen years, seven months, 29 days and 18 hours, almost exactly, is when the stopwatch stopped.
Oregon State Police Sgt. John Burright’s brother Dave Burright ran a timer on a phone app with the start time as the crash that left John, the toughest person Dave had ever met, paralyzed. The clock stopped last week when John died at 61 in the Mennonite village of Albany.
“What he had been through was just horrible,” said Dave. “And yet, all the while, he was still able to smile and make the most of what was going on.
Dave’s stopwatch started on the night of September 4, 2001, a day that saw infamy for many in the Middle Valley. A serious car accident left John paralyzed and killed Albany cop Jason Hoerauf, 29, and Oregon State Police horsewoman Maria Mignano, 39, as police order were working to help a family with a broken down van.
His loved ones remember John as a loving father of three children and a husband, a sports fanatic, an athlete and a man devoted to his profession.
“His family meant everything to him,” said Dave.
Jim Yon, the current Linn County Sheriff, is married to Angie, Dave and John’s cousin, and has known the family for decades. Yon said John had a keen sense of humor and enjoyed hitting his older brother Dave when he got the chance.