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Monday, February 18 , 2019, 12:52 pm | A Few Clouds 57º

 
 
 
 

Pentagon Attack Survivor to Speak at Community Prayer Breakfast

Nearly consumed by flames, Brian Birdwell battled back from near-death and founded Face the Fire Ministries

With the South Coast being tested by the Jesusita Fire this year, it’s more than a little fitting that the 51st annual Community Prayer Breakfast on Friday would hear from a keynote speaker who has had his own brush with flames.

Brian Birdwell
Brian Birdwell

Retired Army Lt. Col. Brian Birdwell is a survivor of the 9/11 terrorist attack on the Pentagon outside Washington, D.C. Birdwell was engulfed in flames after hijackers flew American Airlines Flight 77 into the Pentagon, about 20 yards from his second-floor office. All 64 people on board and 125 more in the building were killed, including the hijackers. Birdwell was burned over more than 60 percent of his body, with nearly half of the burns third-degree. He has made a remarkable recovery after having endured more than 30 operations, months of hospitalization and multiple skin grafts.

Birdwell and his wife, Mel, have since founded Face the Fire Ministries, which assists burn survivors and wounded military personnel and their families. They also have written a book, Refined by Fire, recounting their experience on that fateful day in 2001 and in the days, months and years after.

A native of Fort Worth, Birdwell graduated from Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas, and received a master’s of public administration from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. During his 20-year Army career, he served in the demilitarized zone in Korea, Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, and in Central America. He received a Purple Heart for his wounds in the Pentagon attack.

Santa Barbara’s nondenominational Community Prayer Breakfast, sponsored by CBMC Tri-Valley, will be held at Fess Parker’s DoubleTree Resort, 633 E. Cabrillo Blvd., at 7:30 a.m. Friday. Tickets are on sale now, with a table of 10 going for $250 each. For more information or to purchase tickets, contact Marian Groff at 805.965.8690.

The Community Prayer Breakfast was started locally in 1958, six years after a National Day of Prayer was created by a joint resolution of Congress and signed into law by President Harry S Truman. This year’s National Day of Prayer is Thursday.

Noozhawk publisher Bill Macfadyen can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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