Featured Voice of the Texas GOP: Brian Birdwell
by TexasGOPVote on August 24, 2011 at 12:15 PM
Lt. Col. (Ret.) Brian Birdwell is a native Texan, decorated military veteran and lifelong conservative Republican currently representing Texas Senate District 22.
Birdwell is a native of Fort Worth, a resident of Granbury, and a 1984 graduate of Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas. As the Distinguished Military Graduate of the Army ROTC program, Brian was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant and served in numerous duty assignments. His assignments included several training deployments and two operational deployments. In 1990, he deployed to Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm during the first Gulf War, where he was awarded the Bronze Star for Exceptional Meritorious Achievement. In 1998, he deployed to Central America as the Joint Operations Officer for Joint Task Force Aguila to conduct humanitarian operations in the aftermath of Hurricane Mitch. At the time of the attack on the Pentagon, Brian was serving on the Department of the Army staff as the military aide to the Deputy Assistant Chief of Staff for Installation Management. He is a graduate of Command and General Staff College and holds a Master of Public Administration from the University of Missouri-Kansas City.
On September 11, 2001, when American Airlines Flight 77 was crashed just yards away from his second floor Pentagon office, Brian was critically wounded and severely burned. Of the burns that covered 60 percent of his body, nearly half were third degree in severity.
Today, following 39 operations, months of hospitalization and numerous skin grafts, Brian has made a miraculous recovery. Despite physical limitations, he testifies not only to his physical healing, but the ultimate miracle of grace through Christ. He was awarded the Purple Heart for wounds received that day. Upon retirement in July 2004, he was awarded the Legion of Merit.
After his retirement from the Army, Brian and his wife Mel launched Face The Fire Ministries, a non-profit organization that supports critical burn survivors and wounded servicemen and women and their families. Together, Brian and Mel authored 'Refined by Fire: A Family's Triumph of Love and Faith', which chronicles their life-changing ordeal. Brian has served as a national speaker through Face the Fire Ministries, as well as WallBuilders, a pro-family organization that presents America's religious, moral, and constitutional heritage. He has been a guest on Fox News, the Today Show, the CBS Early Show, CNN, and has served as a panelist on Sean Hannity's Great American Panel. In addition, Brian has been profiled in media outlets such as the Washington Post, U.S. News & World Report and the Los Angeles Times.
A lifelong Republican, Birdwell was a featured speaker at the 2006 Republican State Convention in San Antonio and was Keynote Speaker for the 2007 Texas State Presidential Straw Poll in Ft. Worth.
In June 2010, Brian was elected to the Texas State Senate in a special election. He was then re-elected to serve a full term in the general election that November.
Senator Birdwell serves as the vice-chairman of the Higher Education committee, and as a member of the Economic Development, Government Organization and Veteran Affairs committees.
Brian and Mel have been married for 23 years and they have one son, Matt, who is at student at Texas Tech University. They attend Lakeside Baptist Church in Granbury.
"Fiscal responsibility is not only paying your bills but knowing what bills to incur. So we've got to make sure that we're funding essential elements of government and then decide what's not essential and reduce or eliminate those functions. When we have state surpluses - the state's rainy day fund - we need to start returning a portion of those surpluses that were taken from the taxpayers."