About Anthony

Anthony was both ordinary and extra-ordinary.  If you met Anthony, you liked him. If you knew Anthony, you loved him. Because one cannot encapsulate Anthony's existence into a simple biography and still give it the justice it deserves, we felt it fitting to take you on a journey of Anthony's monumental life events through photos, videos, and stories...

Anthony is Born!

December 7, 1994
Anthony is Born!

Anthony was born at Eglin Air Force Base hospital in Ft.Walton Beach, Florida on December 7th, 1994 at 9:21PM.

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Became Musical Chairs Champion

August 18, 1999

Anthony was introduced to the game “musical chairs” as a Kindergarten student at the Gingerbread Day School in Tallahassee. Having never played before, he was woefully unprepared for his first game, which ended in defeat when his entire kindergarten class overran the chairs while Anthony was left standing. He was out in the first round. Stunned and alone, he was devastated. Tears began to flow before his teacher could make it to his side to calm him. While the game continued, Anthony steadied himself and began to study the game. He made mental notes of what tactics could be successful and began to formulate a strategy. Anthony became determined never to be on the wrong side of someone else’s butt ever again. As the first notes of the next round filled the room, resolve filled Anthony’s eyes. He made his way around the circle of chairs, poised like a lion ready to pounce upon his prey. When the music stopped, he sat down and never looked back. Again and again he was the first to sit on an unoccupied chair as he methodically eliminated his fellow players. For the rest of his time at Gingerbread Day school, he never lost another game of Musical Chairs.

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Joins Little League Tee-ball

March 14, 2001
Joins Little League Tee-ball

Anthony decided at a young age that he wanted to try a number of different sports. He always set a personal goal for himself during his sport activities and for tee-ball it was to "hit a home run".  Ultimately, he achieved his goal but at the end of the season decided tee-ball was better left to the professionals.

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Tries Flag Football

October 3, 2001

“Anthony is the best hiker of the ball I’ve ever seen. He’s a very important part of this team.” – Anthony’s Flag-Football Coach. Being younger, smaller and not as fast as many players on his team, it took some time for Anthony to find his niche. The rules of youth flag-football are such that play must stop if/when the ball touches the ground, so Anthony’s freakish ability to get the ball to the quarterback consistently made him a very valuable player. In the final showdown of the season, Anthony’s coach drew up a play to close the game out in style. After hiking the ball, Anthony ran into the end-zone and caught his first ever touchdown pass.

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Became Big Brother to Isaac

February 3, 2004
Became Big Brother to Isaac

The moment nine year old Anthony was told that he was going to be a big brother, he jumped into his dad’s arms, wrapped his own arms around his dad’s neck and hugged as tightly as he could. He asked several times, “really?” and then began rattling off questions. He was genuinely excited to be a big brother which came as a huge relief to his dad. Several weeks previous, when there was only the suspicion of a new baby, Anthony’s dad had asked a similar question. “Hey Anthony, how would you feel about having a little brother or sister?” To which Anthony had responded: “Gross! Babies are loud and they smell bad.”

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Assumes Secret Identity: Bob

September 15, 2004
Assumes Secret Identity: Bob

At ten years old, Anthony decided to go by a different name. When his dad rejected his suggestion that his soon to be born sibling should be named Bob (regardless of gender), Anthony responded by saying; “Well, if you’re not going to use it then I will. Hi, I’m Bob.” He extended his hand and introduced himself. Thus, Bob came into our lives. From that day forward, he introduced himself to new people as Bob. He asked his teachers to call him Bob for his last year in Elementary school and for all of middle school, which made for funny Parent-Teacher meetings. New friends only knew him as Bob and old friends started calling him Bob too. Inevitably, this caused a bit of confusion at home the first few times a friend called and asked for him by name.

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Volunteer at Challenger Sports

January 12, 2006

Anthony volunteered to assist kids with disabilities in the Challenger Soccer league in Tallahassee. The weather was not always pleasant when the teams met on cold Saturday mornings in Winter and Spring months to play, but Anthony rarely missed a game. He treated everyone with kindness, respect and playfulness, which made him beloved among all the coaches and volunteers, but most of all among the participants.

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Joins Cobb Cross Country Team

September 8, 2008
Joins Cobb Cross Country Team

Bob joined the Cross-Country team at Cobb Middle School in 8th grade. His political and cross-country careers were ended abruptly at the last meet of the season. As he was approaching the finish-line, Bob playfully used an inappropriate hand gesture to indicate his dissatisfaction towards a fellow student’s snarky comment.

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Aspires to be Tim Howard

September 25, 2008
Aspires to be Tim Howard

Anthony enjoyed playing soccer, and played on various recreational teams throughout his life. One game, as a field player, Anthony scored a hat trick (three goals in one game!)

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Bob Runs for President

September 27, 2008
Bob Runs for President

In 7th grade, Bob ran for Student Body Vice President. He lost because the ballot had been printed with his given name rather than the name he was known by. Having learned from the mistakes of the previous year, Bob petitioned the administration to print the name he was known by on the ballot. He proceeded to run a very positive campaign for Student Body President, promising to do his best to create a fun atmosphere at Cobb Middle School. His campaign slogan was Bob = Cupcakes. He won by a landslide.

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Became Big Brother to Christopher

November 4, 2008
Became Big Brother to Christopher

Anthony was so happy to have another little brother!

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Anthony Adopts Family

October 2, 2009
Anthony Adopts Family

Anthony’s parents are not the only parents who love their child. In fact, the mother of Anthony’s best friend loves him like he is one of her own. That’s how he ended up in her family portraits!

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Got Driver’s License

March 10, 2011
Got Driver’s License

Anthony learned to drive on the desolate roads around his grandparent’s neighborhood in his Dad’s Chrysler Sebring convertible.

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Named “Gent” for Leon High School’s Melodears

September 4, 2011
Named “Gent” for Leon High School’s Melodears

In 2011, when Anthony was a Senior at Leon High School, the female choir (The Melodears) selected him to be their "gent". The main role of this position was to woo the ladies with attention and gifts of affection. Rising to the occasion, Anthony bestowed his love the only way he knew how - with a bouquet of bacon roses.

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Went to Junior Prom

May 19, 2012
Went to Junior Prom

Anthony attended junior prom with Cecile!

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Joined Breakdancing Club

October 20, 2012
Joined Breakdancing Club

Anthony heard about the breakdancing club at Leon High School and immediately wanted to join. The practiced a bunch of times and then gave a stellar performance during the Pep Rally.    

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Pickets for Comfy Attire Day at School

December 13, 2012
Pickets for Comfy Attire Day at School

Dear Mr. Epting, Why are pajama pants prohibited in school? Upon looking into the code of conduct i received within my agenda book at the start of the year, I see that every mention of clothing that is prohibited there is a reason, or the reason is implied, such as the mention of Florida's sagging pants law. As my eyes wander down the paper, casually reading for mention of my love, pajama pants, I only see the sentence "Pajamas are not allowed to be worn at school." I've read this sentence many times and I can not seem to figure out why the school system is discriminating against the comfiest form of bloomers. Surely it's not due to their revealing nature. The shorts that I was required to wear for gym class my freshman year were less concealing than any pajama pants i could wear. It can't be because it offends anyone, because I've never met a person who becomes upset by the sight of plaid, or drawings of bears, so the only two pair of pajama pants I own could not be a cause of anxiety to my peers. So far, in my three and a half years as a Leon Lion, I have only seen the inside of student affairs once, and that was to retrieve a cell phone that had been removed from my possession for texting my mother in class. I am a good student with passing grades in all my classes, and I try to...

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Became Young Business Professional

December 30, 2012
Became Young Business Professional

For his senior economics class, Anthony chose to create a video explaining the importance of investment diversification. While other students may have taken a more conventional approach to the subject, Anthony chose to explain it the way Anthony explains things; by getting into character and taking us all on an entertaining and informative trip into the world of a young business professional. It’s interesting to note that as he recorded the video, he wasn’t wearing pants.

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Rescues World’s Oldest Dog Breed – Argos

March 23, 2013
Rescues World’s Oldest Dog Breed – Argos

Anthony hounded his dad from a young age to get a dog. For years, Anthony touted the virtues of dog ownership and promised that he would be a trustworthy dog owner. In March of 2012, after visiting the local animal shelter and playing with a devilishly cute puppy, Anthony and his brother Isaac unleashed a flurry of pleas… his dad finally relented. But only under the condition that they find the right dog to join their family. Immediately Anthony sprang into action. He grabbed his laptop and searched the internet for the best way to find the right dog. He found a questionnaire on the Animal Planet website. The suggested breed was a Canaan Dog. A rare and ancient breed with ancestry dating to the Egyptian empire in pre-biblical times. A rare breed indeed. A further search found five dogs of this breed available for sale or adoption within a 5oo mile radius. One of them was six hours away in South Carolina at the Oconee Humane Society, his name was Vinny. By that evening, Vinny was on his way home with his new Branca Boys wolf pack. There were many creative and funny suggestions for a new name for Vinny on the car ride home. Anthony suggested the name that eventually stuck because it is a perfect fit; Argos. In Homer’s Odyssey, Argos is Odysseus’ faithful dog and the only one to recognize the hero when he returned home after 20 years.

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The King of Dinner is Crowned

April 29, 2013
The King of Dinner is Crowned

There has never been assigned seating at the dinner table in the Branca household. So on an otherwise normal evening, when there was a mild dispute regarding who would sit in which chair, Anthony settled the matter as only he could. He gathered seat cushions from around the table, stacked them on his chair and sat on the pile; a symbol of his royal stature. Over the objections of some present, he announced himself King of Dinner, while his faithful subjects retrieved and presented him with a crown of gold from the bedroom closet. Thus the legend was born. Anthony sat patiently as his meal was laid before him, but when his authority was challenged, our mighty King of Dinner issued an edict that he was indeed the rightful ruler of the evening meal and demanded an end to such sedition. Throughout dinner, he took it upon himself to rule on matters of all sort. His Highness issued proclamations regarding the passing of salt and napkins as well as the equitable dispersing of drinks and salad dressings. His royal wisdom was beyond reproach. While some around the table may have questioned his judgment, the King of Dinner reigned with an even-handed and righteous judiciousness. He was a just and beloved King of Dinner.

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Went to Senior Prom

May 4, 2013
Went to Senior Prom

Anthony attended senior prom with Bella!

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Graduates from Leon High School

May 28, 2013
Graduates from Leon High School

Anthony graduated from Leon High School with honors in May of 2013. Graduation was a personal milestone for Anthony that signified an open door to the rest of the world.  

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Began Working at Camp Warrior

June 1, 2013
Began Working at Camp Warrior

Opens Karate Dojo

January 25, 2014
Opens Karate Dojo

Anthony became fascinated with martial arts later in his teen years. He learned as much as he could on his own, and after doing fairly extensive research, he located a martial arts school that could teach him the specific style of Kung-Fu he wanted to learn. Much to his disappointment however, Anthony realized that timing wouldn’t let him attend lessons at that or any other school. The basic problem is that classes are usually on weeknights at times when he had prior obligations. The only way Anthony would be able to learn martial arts was if he created his own dojo, so he did. The instructor Anthony recruited is a golden glove winning retired professional fighter and Olympic weightlifter. He has 42 years of experience and holds a 3rd degree open-hand black-belt, and a 1st degree weapons black-belt in Shorinryu Shorinkan Karate. He has trained with, and fought against some of the world’s best known martial arts experts. We call him Sensei Carl. Anthony invited his friends to join, and in what came as somewhat of a shock to his dad, five students showed up at 8:00 AM on a crisp Sunday morning for the first lesson. Each Sunday morning Sensei Carl would guide his students through the proper techniques for blocking, punching and kicking on the 12 x 24 foot deck behind Anthony’s house. In an unfortunate twist of fate, on the morning his dojo took a group photo Anthony had to work early and couldn’t attend.

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Stars in Camp Indian Springs Home Invasion Tour Video

April 15, 2014
Stars in Camp Indian Springs Home Invasion Tour Video

Anthony is Killed by a Distracted Driver

November 7, 2014
Anthony is Killed by a Distracted Driver

By: Andy Alcock A 19 year old man has died after a Comcast van hit his motorcycle. Tallahassee Police investigators have identified the victim as Anthony Branca. The driver of the van has been identified as 25 year old Jeffery Massey. The crash took place Friday as both vehicles were headed north on Tallahassee's Old Bainbridge Road not far from Portland. After the crash, the motorcycle was lodged in the front of the van with the back wheel of the motorcycle stuck under the front of the van. An ambulance rushed Branca to the hospital where he later died. "Someone has passed away from the crash so we're going to treat it as a crime scene and we're going to make sure we get all the facts correct," said Tallahassee Police Spokesman Dave Northway. So far, investigators haven't charged Massey with a crime. They haven't indicated whether or not Branca was wearing a helmet. Massey wasn't injured from the crash. View the original article, here.

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Anthony Reaches Immortality – Becomes Tissue Donor

November 8, 2014
Anthony Reaches Immortality – Becomes Tissue Donor

When Anthony got his driver's license, he made the decision to become an organ & tissue donor. He knew that if something should ever happen to him, he wanted his body to help save others. It's a selfless decision that we're so proud he made. Receiving letters from Anthony's recipients allows us to know that Anthony still lives on in others. These letters are gifts that we cherish - We are thankful for them, and for Anthony's decision, always. If you're interested in giving the gift of life, we hope you will consider becoming an organ & tissue donor. Sign up, here.  

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Anthony Phoenix Branca Foundation is Founded

May 7, 2015
Anthony Phoenix Branca Foundation is Founded

The Anthony Phoenix Branca Foundation is dedicated to raising awareness on the consequences of distracted driving. We’re on a mission to educate drivers, save lives, and end this deadly epidemic. In addition to anti-distracted driving initiatives, the APB Foundation seeks to strengthen the local community through charity and outreach, while doing good deeds and “random acts of kindness” in the name and memory of Anthony Phoenix Branca.

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Anthony Speaks from Beyond the Grave

May 21, 2015
Anthony Speaks from Beyond the Grave

When Anthony was a senior, he wrote this letter to his friend Chloe, a freshman. The idea to write a letter came from Chloe’s English teacher, who invited upperclassman to write personal letters to freshman. The teacher would hold those letters and deliver them when the freshman had reached the final days of their senior year. In May of 2015, Chloe received her letter. The words on the page are quintessentially Anthony; full of optimism and encouragement. Anthony wanted the best for his friends. He reveled in the successes of those he loved and did his best to encourage those around him to reach for their full potential, even after he was gone. Dear Chloe, Now you are a senior. You have your cap and gown. Hopefully by now, you have decided what you are going to do. Whatever course of action you take, you have to go for it 100%. If you don’t there is no chance for success. However. You may not have decided yet. That’s alright too. Most seniors have no clue what they want to do when they graduate. But get on the ball, dawg. Chloe, you are basically my little sister. And, as a freshman you were hella cool. By now you’re grown up, and now you’ve got to take life by the balls and show it who’s boss. Nothing is impossible. Impossible is a word use by the weak to justify giving up. Never give up. Chlo- Chlo. Life is what you make of...

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Revolution Begins

June 1, 2015
Revolution Begins

Helps Man Regain Ability to Walk

November 17, 2015
Helps Man Regain Ability to Walk

Dear Donor Family, A special thank you to you for the generous gift of tissue for my cervical neck fusion. It provided me with the hope of being able to again enjoy gardening, fishing, and golf. I was told I might not be able to walk if I didn't have the surgery. The surgery is over and I am doing well. A sincere thank you to you and your loved one. Sincerely, Glenn

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Fuses a Man’s Spine

March 1, 2016
Fuses a Man’s Spine

Dear Donor Family, I am writing to say thank you for the generous and caring gift of tissue donation from your loved one. I am sorry for you loss but I would like to tell you what a positive impact your decision has had on my life. I hope you will find some comfort in knowing that your loved one has helped to restore another person’s life. I had a bulging disc in my spine which was causing pain to shoot down my arms. It was becoming harder to do the normal tasks a person must do everyday. My surgeon discovered, when he cleaned out the disc, that my bones were mushy and the screws from the metal plate could not be securely fastened to the bone. So he had to add some bone tissue donated from your loved one. This allowed him to secure the metal plate which will hold my vertebra so they may fuse together, eliminating the pressure on my spinal cord. The nerves will recover and I will be able to return to normal activities, thanks again to your generous gift of tissue donation. For this gift I am very appreciated, my family and I will always be grateful for the generosity and kindness that you and your loved one have shown. When I die, I will follow the example of your loved one and be a tissue donor also. Thank you, Tom

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Anthony Restores Balance to Another

June 10, 2016
Anthony Restores Balance to Another

Dear Donor Family, I am writing this letter to the family of the very special person that has donated a part of their body that has changed my life. I am able to walk without tripping or falling, and may be allowed to go back to a job I love. I want to thank the family of my donor and I am so sorry for your loss. I hope it brings some comfort knowing your loved one's donation has restored my life. PS. Again I am so sorry for your loss, and know I thank them everyday my illness improves, it couldn't of happened without them. Thank you again, Diana

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Camp Warrior Dedicates Anthony Phoenix Branca Pavilion

June 13, 2016
Camp Warrior Dedicates Anthony Phoenix Branca Pavilion

Camp Warrior (formally Camp Indian Springs) has dedicated their main pavilion in honor of Anthony. Anthony was a camp counselor at Camp Indian Springs and loved having fun with campers, singing songs, dancing, and adding his charm to any situation. Current and future campers will gather in this pavilion to share laughter, tell stories, and hear concerts. We're immensely grateful to the wonderful people at Camp Warrior for helping us keep Anthony's memory alive, and fiercely supporting our efforts to end distracted driving, #BecauseAnthony. Learn more about Camp Warrior (America's largest private summer camp), here.

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