Brandon Long was on his first deployment in Afghanistan in 2010 when he lost his legs to an IED blast just 2 days before his daughter Claire was born. Thanks to the MobilityWorks team and nonprofit Help Our Military Heroes, this deserving hero received the keys to a new BraunAbility Chrysler Town and Country.
Brandon Makes the Ultimate Sacrifice
“I remember flying through the air and I landed on my right side,” Brandon said of the explosion. “It was really hard to breathe, I couldn’t see anything but a cloud of dust. I remember speaking to the man upstairs and he was telling me my daughter was going to be on the way and I needed to look after her and my wife. He said because of your wife and daughter I am giving you a second chance.”
By the time he arrived at the hospital, Brandon lost 98% of his blood volume and had to be resuscitated multiple times. He was then airlifted to Germany.
“I was 9 months pregnant at the time,” Brandon’s wife Nicole said. “My cell phone rang and they said Brandon had stepped on an IED. All they knew was that he lost his legs and he was in critical condition. I didn’t know what to expect and I was terrified. I didn’t know what his emotions would be. But seeing him meet his daughter for the first time was amazing and overwhelming all at the same time.”
Brandon came home to the United States to recover in Maryland for 2 years. The young family has since moved to St. Augustine, Florida. The journey was tough but Brandon has adapted to all the changes. Homes For Our Troops built Brandon, Nicole and 5-year-old Claire an accessible home. The next step was for Brandon to get back on the road with a new wheelchair accessible minivan.
MobilityWorks Helps Brandon
“Tammy Phipps, a VA representative from Walter Reed in Maryland, referred Brandon to our store,” Tampa General Manager Brian Stuckey said. “Tammy also put Brandon in touch with Ted and Laurie Hollander, founders of Help Our Military Heroes [HOMH]. Brandon decided to work with HOMH and MobilityWorks based on our reputation.”
The Tampa team helped Brandon throughout the process so his vehicle would be safe for his family.
“We installed hand controls, a spinner knob and a transfer seat base,” Brian said. “The vehicle is a BraunAbility Town and Country with a power infloor ramp.”
The MobilityWorks team was proud to assist this young hero as he regains his freedom.
“Brandon is a great guy,” Brian said. “He is 5 years older than my son so I felt an instant connection. It is going to change his life and his little girl will be able to sit in the back and watch DVDs. The family is very happy with their new van. Brandon made the ultimate sacrifice for his country and I am thrilled that we could help him in any way possible.”
Laurie from Help Our Military Heroes agreed with Brian.
“Live a life worthy of their sacrifice,” Laurie said. “That’s my motto. It is part of my prayer every day.”
Brandon is grateful for all the help he has received.
“I don’t know where our family would be without help from people like them,” Brandon said. “The van is amazing and I still can’t believe it’s mine. To be able to hold the keys in my hand-it’s just amazing.”
The Tampa CBS and Fox News Affiliates were on hand during the van presentation. Click here to see Brandon get the keys to his new BraunAbility van at our Tampa store.