Lt. Col. (Ret.) Brian Birdwell is a native Texan, decorated military veteran and lifelong conservative Republican currently representing Texas Senate District 22.
Texas Roots and Military Service
Brian is a native of Fort Worth and a resident of Granbury. He is a graduate of Lamar University, Command and General Staff College and the University of Missouri-Kansas City, where he earned a Master’s of Public Administration.
As the Distinguished Military Graduate of the Lamar Army ROTC program in1984, Brian was commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Army and served in numerous training deployments and two operational deployments. In 1990, he deployed to Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm, 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. In 2001, Brian was serving on the Department of the Army staff as the military aide to the Deputy Assistant Chief of Staff for Installation Management.
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 more than 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.
Brian in Ministry
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. Through the years, Brian has been profiled in numerous national and regional media outlets.
Family and Politics
In June 2010, Brian won a special election to the Texas State Senate. Five months later, he was re-elected to serve a full term. After his first legislative session, Brian received critical acclaim from numerous conservative organizations, including an A+ rating from Texans for Fiscal Responsibility, the highest rating in the Texas Senate from Texas Eagle Forum and a 100% rating from Texas Heritage Alliance.
Brian serves as the vice-chairman of the Higher Education committee, vice-chairman of the Veteran Affairs committee and is a member of the Economic Development and Government Organization committees. In January 2012, he was appointed by Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst to the Sunset Advisory Commission and the Joint Interim Committee to Study Human Trafficking. Brian and Mel have been married for 25 years and they have one son, Matt, who is at student at Texas Tech University. They attend Lakeside Baptist Church in Granbury.