Brian Sellers was all set to become a police officer. After years of rehab for his wartime injuries, and after even more years of study to earn a bachelor’s degree in criminology, Brian was about to enter the police academy and take his place on the front lines of law enforcement. Then he put the brakes on. His future was about to do a crisp about-face.
“I felt a calling,” Brian said. It was a calling to make a career out of the hospital emergency-department job that sustained him while he studied criminology.
“After leading more than 100 Marines in combat, I didn’t want to come home and work in a supermarket,” Brian said. “In the infantry, they always told you the only thing you could do when you leave the military is to go into law enforcement. So that’s just what I thought I was going to do.” To pay the bills while in school, Brian took a job in the emergency department of a local hospital.
“As I got closer to entering the police academy, I quit my job at the hospital. But I found myself missing the type of environment in which I could help other people who were injured,” Brian says. “So a week before I was to start the police academy, I decided that was not what I wanted to do with my life. I wanted to go back into the medical field so I could help other people.”
So Brian again hit the classroom, this time earning a nursing degree. He now works in a hospital emergency room.
Brian’s empathy for those experiencing medical emergencies is very real. He’s been there, done that — on October 23, 2004, to be exact.
“I was inside the base after a combat mission in Ramadi, Iraq, and I figured I was pretty safe,” Brian says. Then an incoming mortar exploded.
“After my fellow Marines retired to their quarters, a loud explosion knocked me to my knees,” Brian remembers. “I felt a burning sensation all down my left side. I attempted to yell, ‘Incoming!’ but was unable to talk. I then put my hand to my throat and felt blood running down my neck.” Help was soon in coming.
“As the medical team laid me down, I felt blood rushing down my throat and my supply of air quickly depleting. I closed my eyes and said what I thought would be my last prayer. Then everything faded to black.”
Brian’s wounds required several surgeries and many months of rehabilitation to re-learn the simple tasks of speaking, swallowing, and eating.
When Brian recalls his first few days in the Marines, he laughs and says, “I remember thinking nothing I did was good enough and everything I did was wrong.” But everything Brian is doing today feels absolutely right. He recently became engaged to his girlfriend. He’s following his passion to help and heal others in their time of need. And he’s serving his fellow veterans through Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) and its National Campaign Team. Brian is publicly sharing his story of injury, rehabilitation, and triumph with more recently injured service members to inspire them to continue to achieve great things.
“The more I helped people through WWP,” he said, “the more I wanted to help even more people. So when they approached me about joining the National Campaign Team, I thought this was another way to help more individuals.”
So years after saying what he thought would be his final prayer, he’s doing everything humanly possible to answer the prayers of others in their time of need. It’s just part of a common theme that runs throughout Brian Sellers’s life.