By Sosamma Samuel-Burnett, J.D.
Founder/Chair, G.L.O.B.A.L. Justice; Board Director, Agape International Missions
Some advocates speak for their cause in presentations, protests, or marches. Some battle on the frontlines rescuing the abused. Some provide services and support to survivors. Some fight for justice in classrooms, jails, court rooms, and legislative chambers. And some quietly, diligently, and with dedication make it possible for all these others to advocate for those in need.
BrianWingerwasthekindofadvocatethatmadethingspossible. Hewasahumble,passionate, and deeply devoted man who loved God, his family, his work, and his cause -- ending sexual slavery in Cambodia. As a financial professional, he served for many years as Board Director and Board Treasurer for Agape International Missions (AIM). Brian provided years of countless hours of accounting services, financial advice, and fiscal oversight to ensure that AIM could do what it is here to do -- prevent, rescue, restore, & reintegrate survivors of sex trafficking. He was instrumental in helping AIM grow to more than 300 staff with numerous amazing projects that serve their mission.
I had the honor of working with Brian on the AIM Board since 2007. In all the years of meetings, planning, challenges, and tough decisions for AIM, Brian was always an encouragement to me personally and to everyone at AIM. He was steadfast in all that he
did. And he and his family were always willing to be of support, even opening their home for a place of rest and relaxation.
Brian was a friend and an athlete -- dedicated to biking, running, and other outdoor sports. I have fond memories of running three years in a row with Brian in the Run for Courage in Folsom, California -- an event to bring awareness and support for anti-human trafficking advocacy. He was always easy to talk to and fun to run with. I enjoyed those times with my friend.
Sadly, on Sunday July 7, while he was enjoying time with his family in the outdoors -- Brian suddenly and unexpectedly passed away. I and everyone that is part of the AIM family are devastated by this loss. It hurts to think that this humble, passionate, devoted man and steadfast advocate is no longer with us. But it is a testimony to his life and legacy that I can write these words: an advocate is someone who gently and intentionally makes others better, improves situations that are difficult, and makes the seemingly impossible to be possible. That was Brian Winger, my friend, fellow AIM Board Director, and a true advocate. May God bless Brian for his tremendous life of faith, service, and advocacy.