A very special moment: Berkeley Quarry Team gives child a memorable experience

For the group of Charleston Christian School sixth-grade students who visited Berkeley Quarry, it was an amazing day full of learning and exploration. But, for one child, it was so much more.

Grayson Osborne, a sixth-grade student battling brain cancer, put on safety equipment while preparing to ride in a haul truck at Berkeley Quarry. 

For the group of Charleston Christian School sixth-grade students who visited Berkeley Quarry, it was an amazing day full of learning and exploration. But, for one child, it was so much more.

Grayson Osborne, one of the 55 students attending the site visit, has spent his early years battling brain cancer. 

In remission now, Grayson has had to undergo six surgeries and continues to be monitored for any recurrence. 

His class was thrilled to learn about Berkeley’s operations, but Grayson, who has a deep love for heavy equipment like haul trucks and loaders, was beyond excited. 

The visit was full of fun and educational activities, including a tour, fossil hunting and a donation of science books to the school’s library. The team also arranged for the whole group to see the dragline bucket up close – a unique process at the South Carolina site. 

But even more special, when the Berkeley Quarry team learned that Grayson had battled a serious illness and happened to have a love of machinery, the team stepped up to arrange for him to have the chance to ride in one of the site’s haul trucks. 

“Giving him the opportunity to do this meant so much, you could see it on his face,” said Plant Manager Handsome Major. “It was like he was in a candy store. You could tell this was a very special moment for him.” 

“It was awesome. It made his day – probably made his year after being through so much,” added Project Manager Aric Henderson, who helped supervise the trip. 

The rest of the crew and students watched as Grayson had his dreams come true while riding around the site and receiving the VIP treatment. 

“When he hopped into that haul truck and got his picture taken, he was smiling ear to ear,” Major said. “That felt really good to see.” 

Hope Rodebaugh, a Charleston Christian School science teacher and head chaperone for the event, said she could not have imagined the indescribable joy Grayson would get from what she calls “a moment of overcoming.” 

“I am not exaggerating when I say that Grayson talks about this experience every single day,” Rodebaugh said. “That day, he was given a gift, and it is a gift that keeps on giving.”

As a part of a special experience, Grayson Osborne, a Charleston Christian School student battling brain cancer, got to ride in a haul truck at Berkeley Quarry

Because of the numerous surgeries and procedures, Rodebaugh said, Grayson has had damage to specific sections of his brain connected with memory. So, while retaining facts and figures may be challenging, tactile learning – such as what he experienced at the site – strongly affects how he can process information. 

“There are times in class when it is harder for him to do certain things that everyone else is doing because of what his surgeries have done for his learning skills. You can tell sometimes that he may feel a little left out,” she said through tears. “But, when he was in that truck, he was the star. He got to feel special, and I think everyone deserves that every once in a while.”

Coming into Charleston Christian School, Rodebaugh said her main goal was to help enhance the science curriculum with hands-on experience. Because the school works solely on donations, Regional Environmental Services Manager Ellen Price and Martin Marietta’s Berkeley Quarry organized the tour to provide the students with the kinds of experiences the science department needed.

“Martin Marietta has been wonderful to Grayson and all of us. The crew at Berkeley chose to see this child in need of something special, and they stepped up,” Rodebaugh said. “When Grayson shined, we all shined. It showed us that it means a lot to be seen because sometimes it can feel like we live in a world where it is easy to overlook others.” 

As the tour and the day’s activities came to a close, Price and the team said the day meant as much to them as it did to Grayson and his peers. 

“This was a phenomenal event that I think our team enjoyed just as much as the students,” said Price. 

“At the end of the day, it is about giving back to the community,” Henderson added. “By letting these kids see the opportunities provided at Martin Marietta, I think we are giving them a new outlook on their possible future.”