To begin our new series, Stories of Hope, I can’t think of a more hopeful testimony to begin with than Rep. Brian Mast who survived an IED explosion in Afghanistan, overcame the loss of both his legs, and now serves in the United States Congress.

Show Highlights

Congressman Brian Mast is in his second term representing the 18th Congressional District of Florida. Prior to his election to Congress, Brian followed in his father’s footsteps by serving in the U.S. Army for more than 12 years, earning medals including The Bronze Star Medal, The Army Commendation Medal for Valor, The Purple Heart Medal, and The Defense Meritorious Service Medal. While deployed in Afghanistan, he worked as a bomb disposal expert under the elite Joint Special Operations Command. The last improvised explosive device that he found resulted in catastrophic injuries, which included the loss of both of his legs. While lying in bed recovering at Walter Reed Medical Center, Brian’s father gave him advice that has stuck with him to this day–to ensure the greatest service he gave to our country and the best example he set for his children was still ahead of him. Brian took this advice to heart and dedicated himself to finding new ways to serve our country and his community.

As a bomb technician in the military, Brian knew that his job was inherently dangerous. Like those in law enforcement, first responders, and firefighters, Brian says you know the risks, then you take the time to learn how to mitigate the risks.

You can’t totally avoid all of them, but you realize that you are serving something more important than yourself, so the risks are acceptable to you. “If something happens to you, it will be without regret because of what you are serving.”

He adds, having you family’s support matters a lot as you enter a difficult and dangerous responsibility.

Brian had a wife and new born baby when he encountered a serious accident on the battlefield. He says, the struggle beyond physical pain is the psychological pain of the unknown. At that point, losing both his legs made him question his purpose of life, and whether he would ever be able to carry kids or play ball with them.

One thought that kept him going while he was bedridden was: How do I still serve my country and continue to set a good example for kids?

Eventually, Brian found himself fighting on a new battlefield – the congress, fighting with words and ideology over a better direction for the country.

Losing his legs not only changed Brian’s future, but also his relationship with God. He says, “Every miracle in the bible was not a passive miracle.” Everybody who received a miracle had to do something actively despite being uncertain as they were doing it.

This became a turning point in Brian’s life, realizing that he had to be an active part of learning to walk again.

From everything he has been through, Brian leaves us with two questions: Do you have courage in your life to be bold, daring, brave, to go out into the unknown? Do you have the will, drive, and fortitude to do everything you can do to make sure you don’t fail at the dreams you have courage to pursue?

Resources Mentioned

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