As I wind down my last day at work this week and prepare for the July 4th holiday, I join with all Americans in the excitement and anticipation of the wonderful events and family festivities we will embark on this long weekend. The fireworks and grilling outdoors with my family are my favorite times on this holiday.
This country has celebrated many Independence days since its inception on July 4, 1776. We proudly wear and wave those red, white and blue colors of our American flag. Our flag is a symbol of our freedom and the sacrifices that were made to protect and honor that freedom. As we all know, freedom has always come at a cost – and to many a great sacrifice.
I want to introduce you to Sam Brown. Today, Sam has many visible scars causing others to gawk at him with curious stares. But nothing much bothers Sam. Unless, of course, you insult his beautiful wife or kids. He is a man that intimately knows all about protecting others and sacrifices. You see Sam Brown is a West Point graduate who was rose to the rank of Army Ranger First Lieutenant. While deployed in Afghanistan on this first tour of duty, his life was changed forever by an IED explosion. He was thrown from his mangled Humvee, completely engulfed in flames. He thought his life was over. But thankfully, it was not.
Sam has endured over 30 surgeries and dozens of procedures to get his life as close as medically possible to normal. Now a retired Captain and Purple Heart recipient, nothing has kept Sam from doing what he enjoys. Today, he and his business partner, Mark Waddell, a former Navy SEAL Commander, are co-founders of Pruitt, Winston & Brothers – a global logistics and security company. Both men are service-disabled veterans and battle-tested warriors who have lost men in action. Their company is named after two men that gave their ultimate sacrifice. BM2/E-5 SEAL Jason Pruitt lost his life in service to his country under Wadell’s command and Army Private Vincent Winston died on the very mission that had explosively ended Sam Brown’s military career. Waddell and Brown chose to name their company in honor of their fallen soldiers and brothers who sacrificed greatly for the freedom of this country of ours.
If you are like me, it takes a holiday like Independence Day to remind me of our freedom and the sacrifices of others. But for Sam and Mark, their scars remind them every day.