A Warrior and Advocate for Student Veterans

By

Brian Hawthorne

Brian Hawthorne is truly a remarkable young man whose dedication and commitment to his country and fellow soldiers has earned him well-deserved honors.

Entering the Army Reserves at the age of 18 in 2003, he had no idea that only a few years later he would have a major impact on the lives of many people, including fellow comrades, senior officers, veterans and students.

Hawthorne first deployed to Iraq in May 2005 with the Alpha 401st Civil Affairs Battalion to Mosul. After his second deployment, this time with the 450th civil Affairs Battalion in 2007, Hawthorne stepped up when he saw that his unit needed a company medic. Without hesitation he volunteered to use the firefighter/EMT skills he learned in high school to become the company medic. His desire to see his operation run smoothly and successfully led him to train his fellow company and brigade members in combat life-saving skills.

His remarkable leadership skills proved to be invaluable and he was credited with saving the life of a fellow solider when their unit came under attack. The solider sustained severe blood loss and broken bones but it was the bravery and rapid response of Hawthorne that contributed to a positive outcome. This act of bravery earned him the Bronze Star Medal.

Today, Hawthorne continues to serve his country in a different capacity – as Director of Student Veteran Affairs in Washington, D.C. The 24 year-old veteran co-founded the George Washington University Veterans Organization. The organization helps to connect students with valuable resources and it advocates on the behalf of student veterans at the state and national levels. He is passionate about helping his fellow veterans by raising awareness of their needs.

When asked what has serving in Iraq taught him about life, freedom, and the pursuit of happiness, he replied, “First of all, we’ve got it great, and second of all when I see how much opportunity and potential I have, I’m so much more appreciative of things like education and I’m so much more appreciative of being able to drive to work without any real fear. I know that no matter what, if I have children, my kids are going to be able to grow up in a world that they can do anything they want, or nothing. To me, that is what it’s all about. Having been in a place where that was denied for so long, that really is what it means to be free, because I just can’t imagine coming home and having to fight for little stuff. More importantly, I think we brought liberty to a people that needed it. Working with the Iraqi Army and the Iraqi police, it was such an honor for me to be able to work with people who really cared and really wanted to make things better for Iraqis. Being a part of that is very moving and humbling.”

Serving in the Army Reserves has taught him strength and perseverance and has given him a much deeper appreciation for life and freedom.

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