SSG (Ret.) Brian Mast, USA
SSG (Ret.) Brian Mast was raised in Grand Rapids, MI, and attended Palm Beach Atlantic University.
Brian had his mind set on miltary service since the 9/11 attacks, and joined the Army after high school. In late 2006, he made the transition from the Army Reserves to Active Duty as an Explosive Ordinance Disposal Tech and was accepted into special operations.
When Brian was deployed to Afghanistan in 2010, he worked each night hunting very specific targets in darkness. In September of that year, his helicopter was targeted by insurgents on the way to the landing zone. Suspecting that there may be a hidden bomb, Mast got on his hands and knees to carefully search the ground in the dark. When he did not find anything, he stood and then stepped on an improvised explosive device and was hurled through the air.
Brian spent his first three weeks at Walter Reed Military Medical Center in surgeries and the intensive care unit. He eventually lost both legs and his index finger, and sustained other damage to his forearm and hand. Brian recalls that beginning on his first day in the hospital, his only mission was to get better as quickly as possible.
Brian says he was overwhelmed by the love, care, and support of his friends and family during his rehabilitation. Brian completed a graduate degree at Harvard and then successfully ran for a seat in the United States Congress in 2016. He and his wife, Briana, live in their Helping A Hero home in Florida with their two boys and daughter.