The thought of their long-time master losing a fight to cancer motivated generations of a Colorado Taekwondo community to pay tribute in a touching way.
Master Barney Montano, 70, earned his seventh-degree black belt during the summer of 2014. It’s safe to say he could probably hurt you just by looking at you. Unfortunately, he’s tied up with a different battle these days.
Montano was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer last summer and recently took an unexpected turn for the worse. He was sent home from the hospital for hospice care Friday.
Understanding that time may not be on their master’s side anymore, various generations of his students — spanning more than 40 years of teaching — gathered together Sunday in front of his home to say thank you one last time.
“There are people here today who have third and fourth degree black belts and they were his white belts,” a visibly emotional daughter, Rebecca Montano Charron, explained to KCNC.
“I was 10 years old when I started with him in taekwondo. It has always been our thing,” his daughter added before explaining that the last-minute idea had grown overnight.
“Taekwondo has meant the world to him and he’s been able to influence this many people’s lives and touch them,” Rebecca said, holding back tears.
His approval earned, one last time, Montano’s students eventually took turns shaking his hand and offering their appreciation.
“He is my superhero and I didn’t realize he was everybody else’s too.”