Latter-day Saint wrestler Brady Lowry, left, visits with his Northwest College teammate, Kendall Cummings, in the Montana hospital where they were both treated after the two were attacked by a grizzly bear on Oct. 15, 2022. (Photo courtesy of Dallas Lowry)
How a ‘Come, Follow Me’ lesson delivered hope following grizzly attack on college wrestlers
Family file photo of the late Trina Jo Lowry with her husband, Dallas Lowry, and their young son, Brady Lowry. (Photo courtesy of Toni Jo Lowry)
Father of mauling victim believes his son was protected by "angels" on both sides of veil
By Jason Swensen
29 Dec 2022
Just hours after Latter-day Saint wrestler Brady Lowry was mauled by a grizzly, his father, Dallas Lowry, was hustling to board a Montana-bound plane to be with his son.
In the minutes prior to take-off, the elder Lowry was still trying to make sense of the Oct. 15 bear attack in the mountains of Wyoming’s Shoshone National Forest that nearly claimed the lives of Brady and his son’s Northwest College wrestling teammate, Kendall Cummings.
As he swiped through his phone to locate his electronic boarding pass, Dallas Lowry found a screenshot he had saved a few weeks earlier. The screenshot contained an Old Testament scripture that Latter-day Saints worldwide pondered over during their recent “Come, Follow Me” studies: Daniel 6:22.
“My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions’ mouths, that they have not hurt me.”
At that moment, an ancient scripture suddenly became immediate and deeply personal for the Cedar City, Utah, man. His own son, he believed, had been protected from a deadly beast by angels. His son, like Daniel, was alive.
“It was a tender mercy,” Dallas Lowry told Church Ball, fighting emotion. “As I re-read that scripture in Daniel, the Lord told me at that moment, ‘I sent angels to protect your son’.”
Angels on two sides of the veil
Dallas Lowry can easily trace the actions of multiple “angels” who intervened on his son’s behalf.
First, of course, was Brady’s Lowry’s teammate and friend, Kendall Cummings — whose heroic actions have been shared by ESPN, ABC’s Good Morning America, KSL and a host of other local and national news outlets:
On a clear Saturday afternoon, Brady Lowry, 21, and Cummings were hunting for shed antlers on a hillside of the Shoshone’s South Fork when they were charged by a bear.
“I look up and a grizzly is 5 feet from us, sprinting at me,” Brady Lowry told the Sheridan Press.
The bear tackled Lowry, who instinctively covered his head even and began praying for help. The animal grabbed Lowry’s left arm and bit his shoulder and thigh.
Cummings tried yelling and throwing sticks and rocks at the bear, to no avail. So he took selfless action, grabbing the bear by the ear. That snagged the animal’s undivided attention.
“I just pulled hard and it kind of looked at me, we locked eyes for a few seconds and I took a few steps back. Then it charged me, took me to the ground,” said Cummings in the Sheridan Press account.
Cummings estimates the bear mauled him for about 45 seconds before stopping and leaving the immediate area. Cummings called out to see if Lowry was okay. Suddenly, the grizzly returned and attacked Cummings a second time before disappearing into the forest.
Bloodied and severely injured, both Cummings and Lowry were able to walk to an area down the hill where they re-connected with two other Northwest College Trappers wrestling teammates who had joined them for the antler hunt. First responders were called and the two injured teammates were flown to a Billings hospital.
Both young athletes received priesthood blessings, were eventually released from the hospital and continue to recover.
A watchful mother/angel
Brady and Dallas Lowry call Cummings a hero for his guardian angel-like actions.
But the brave wrestler, added Dallas Lowry, was not the only “angel” on the mountain that Saturday protecting Brady. He is certain Brady’s late mother was also present.
On March 31, 2012, Trina Jo Lowry — Brady and Dallas’ mother and wife, respectively — died in a car accident near Fillmore, Utah. The former college volleyball player and gymnastics coach was killed while driving to a gymnastics event in Salt Lake City, leaving behind her husband, Dallas, their son, Brady, and their two daughters, K’Loni Lynn and Toni Jo.
“On the night my wife died, I had a choice to either go to the bar or go to the priesthood session of general conference,” said Dallas Lowry. “I chose general conference.”
He remembers listening to the counsel of President Thomas S. Monson and other leaders and receiving a spiritual confirmation that his connection to Trina Jo was eternal “and that she would be a mother who would be there to watch over and protect her kids when no one else could.”
That confirmation came full circle for Dallas Lowry as he re-read the account from Daniel about God’s angels protecting a loved one from the beasts of the world.
“God’s plan is good,” he said. “From the beginning, I knew that everything was going to be okay with my son. I knew that God was in control of this whole situation.”
Dallas and Brady Lowry have, in quiet moments since the bear attack, talked about their wife and mother. They talk about those relationships that stretch beyond mortality.
“Brady and his mom were the best of friends,” said Dallas Lowry, who has remarried (Kathy) and coaches wrestling at Cedar City’s Canyon View High School. “I joke that the reason why Brady is such a good wrestler is because we always fought to be the one to sit next to her.”
Wrestling’s life lessons
Dallas Lowry adds that the lessons that his son and Cummings have learned on the wrestling mat also helped them survive the bear attack.
Wrestling is the world’s oldest sport — even the Old Testament chronicles the account of Jacob wrestling with an angel. Meanwhile, Latter-day Saints relish stories of Joseph Smith competing in wrestling and other physical activities.
The ancient sport remains an apt metaphor for those who have to fend off the attacks of the world, said Dallas Lowry.
“All of us are down here wrestling — and we can never give up.”
Dallas Lowry visits with his son, Brady Lowry, in a Montana hospital. Brady and his teammate, Kendall Cummings, were attacked by a bear on Oct. 15, 2022. (Photo courtesy of Dallas Lowry)
Editor's note: Toni Jo Lowry is the author's daughter-in law.