My name is Brian and I’ve lived in Northern Virginia most of my life, but I was born in Hawaii and we lived in Belgium in the early 70’s. I grew up with my three brothers and one sister in Springfield. I had completed two years at Longwood College and was planning to transfer to Virginia Tech in September 1985. One July night, after drinking a lot of beer, a friend and I decided to drive to the beach. I fell asleep at the wheel and we crashed. I had a traumatic brain injury and spent months in a coma, followed by a year of rehab, re-learning things I’d done my whole life, like walking, talking, and eating. My family stood by me.
I went back to live with my Mom and Dad and my younger siblings. I didn’t want other kids to make the same mistakes I did, so I put together a presentation and with help and encouragement, I was able to visit a lot of local high schools and talk about my accident, so they would understand how important it was to wear their seatbelts and never drink and drive. I know I saved lives – I have a stack of thank-you notes from students and teachers. It gave me a lot of satisfaction to do this work.