Skip to main content


December 12, 2017

Chris Fabry: An Act of Kindness from a Stranger Miles Away

Posted by tom

Chris Fabry is an award-winning author and radio personality who hosts the daily program "Chris Fabry Live" on Moody Radio. His upcoming novel, UNDER A CLOUDLESS SKY (which releases January 9th), is about a lush and storied coal-mining town in danger of being destroyed for the sake of profit. In 2008, Chris and his family vacated their home in Colorado due to a toxic mold problem that severely impacted their health, forcing them to leave everything behind. This unimaginable ordeal led to a memorable gift that Chris received from one of his favorite authors --- the late great Pat Conroy --- which wouldn’t have been possible without the kind and thoughtful actions of his wife.

All memorable gifts are tokens of love from one heart to another. And for me, the gift of a book from a stranger 2,000 miles away is a story in itself. Her name was Milbrey, and she had discovered our family’s story. Our loss included our health, our pets, our home, many of the memories we had accumulated in 26 years of marriage, and shelves of books I counted as treasured friends.

Milbrey entered the picture because of a connection I felt with the writing of Pat Conroy. There was something between the lines of his stories that grabbed me, explained my life in a way I had never experienced, and compelled me to have him autograph two of his books.

In the summer of 1994, we drove from Chicago to Fripp Island and vacationed there with our children. Before leaving the island, I deposited two unsigned books at the local grocery store, T.T. Bones, and the proprietor said Pat would sign them and mail them. A few weeks later, the books arrived to my delight.

And then came the loss in 2009. Milbrey heard about that and, because she was a friend of Pat’s, bought two books, went to his house and knocked on his door. I received those books in 2011 with words from Pat I now treasure even more.

“My best to you in your writing life. Go deeper. Always go deeper.”

Had I not lost those books, I would not have that personal message from one of my favorite writers.

But here is the rest of the story.

Milbrey was going through cancer treatment at the time. To think of her, depleted of energy and doing this for someone she didn’t know astounds me to this day. It humbles me today to think of her spending time for someone like me when she had only a few months left to live.

But there’s more to this gift. The gift began in the heart of my wife. She knew how much those books meant. Through some correspondence with a friend, she found Milbrey, who was glad to intercede for us. So the truth about all of this is that without my wife’s care and compassion and knowing the depth of this loss, I never would have received the gift.

All memorable gifts are tokens of love from one heart to another.