U.S. Air Force Senior Airman (Ret.)
Growing up in Waxahachie, TX with a veteran father and grandfathers, retired U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Brandon Byers always knew he was called to military service. In May 2005, he enlisted in the Air Force as a Security Forces member. Brandon deployed to Iraq as a 50-caliber machine gunner, conducting intelligence-gathering, convoys, and convoy security. He loved the honor and heritage of the military and the structure and discipline it provided.
On October 16, 2006, Brandon volunteered to stay behind as rear gunner in the last truck of a team securing a bridge. An improvised explosive device (IED) exploded directly under him.
After emergency surgeries, Brandon received mainly outpatient care, which placed most of his recovery’s burden on his beloved wife Megan. Brandon struggled for years to stay in the military. After many unsuccessful salvage surgeries, he ultimately chose to amputate his left leg rather than put his family through further operations. “My family was more important to me than trying to save a leg that wasn't salvageable,” he says.
Brandon previously lived in a rental home that presented several difficulties, even dangers. He sustained several falls in just six months. The Byers’ family moved into their specially adapted smart home on October 10, 2017.
Brandon uses his injuries to help as many people as he can by mentoring other veterans and spreading his message of hope and determination as a public speaker. He plans eventually to enter political service because of his conviction that a difference can be made if only one person stands up for what is right.