1st Lt. Brian Brennan has led a life of destiny. There is no denying it when you hear his story.
From the day he was born on September 30, 1984, he faced challenges. “Brian was born 13 weeks premature,” Jim Brennan [Brian’s father] said. “He was just 2 pounds, 13 ounces at birth. He was not expected to live.” (ClevelandBrowns.com)
As his son was being rushed to intensive care, the nurses stopped briefly to ask Jim what his new son’s name would be, in case something went wrong. Jim had always admired a Boston College football player with the same last name – a receiver named Brian Brennan. “I’ve always enjoyed hard-working football players, guys who were more interested in the team than themselves.” The Nurses said Jim’s son was a fighter. The words resonated with Jim and he made the decision to name him after the gutsy football player.
Twenty-four years later, Brian – the premature baby – laid in a coma at Walter Reed after his Humvee was split in half by an IED in Afghanistan. The blast killed three of his teammates and injured the other two. Brian lost both legs and suffered acute brain damage.
A chance meeting between Brian’s brother and another man at Walter Reed (who was visiting his own wounded brother) started a chain of events that can only be described as remarkable. The other man was from Cleveland and when he learned that 1st Lt. Brennan was named after the now-famous Cleveland Brown football player, he alerted the local media which in turn contacted the retired receiver.
In June 2008, Cleveland Browns great Brian Brennan flew to Walter Reed to meet the family of his namesake. Although their 1st Lt. son was unconscious, the family enjoyed the visit tremendously. Brennan left some Browns souvenirs and his best wishes. And he vowed to keep in touch with the family and help them through the trying times ahead.
But that’s not the end of the story.
The next day, General Petraeus stopped in to visit Brian. 1st Lt. Brennan was in the 101st Airborne, the storied Division founded in 1942 and immortalized in the series, “Band of Brothers.” General Petraeus had been a Screaming Eagle too – he led the 101st during the assault on Iraq in 2003. As he was about to leave, the General turned to the Soldier and shouted, “Curahee”, the Division’s motto.
Suddenly, 1st Lt. Brennan sat up at attention, snapping out of his coma.
Since then, his progress has been steady. He has learned to walk on two prosthetic legs, and was he is expected to make a full recovery.
During his short time on this earth, Brian Brennan has overcome bigger challenges than most people encounter in a lifetime. He did it by being a fighter. He was named after a fighter. He became a fighter. And he awoke to the sound of a fighter.
And now the rest of his destiny awaits him. He is our hero of the week.
Don’t leave this site without watching this video called, “A Remarkable Recovery.”
To read more about 1st Lt. Brian Brennan: