Pixel Tracker

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).

Talk to Us!

Please take Noozhawk's audience survey to help us understand what you expect — and want — from us. It'll take you just a few minutes. Thank you!

Get Started >

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >