Purple Heart recipient shares story of courage

For Immediate Release: Oct. 6, 2015

BLOOMSBURG — The word “conquer” has taken on a new meaning for Bryan Anderson, a former U.S. Army sergeant. During his service in the Iraq War, it meant taking down the enemy. After losing both legs and an arm as the Iraq War’s fourth triple amputee from a roadside explosive, what he had to conquer got a bit more personal.

Anderson will detail his story of courage, hope and determination during the presentation, “No Turning Back,” Tuesday, Oct. 20, at 6:30 p.m. in Mitrani Hall at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania’s Haas Center for the Arts. The program is sponsored by BU’s Disability Advisory Committee and is open free to the public.

“Bryan's message is one of perseverance and hope,” said Bob Heckrote of BU’s Office of Military Services and Veterans Resources and a member of BU’s Disability Advisory Committee. “His message is pertinent to more people than just military members or individuals who are disabled. It’s a global message to inspire motivation. We hope his message might give people strength to keep fighting or at the least to appreciate what they have in life.”

Anderson enlisted in the Army in April 2001 and had a “ship out” date for boot camp of Sept. 11, 2001. He served two tours of duty in Iraq and was stationed in the Baghdad area, where he attained the rank of sergeant in the military police. Anderson’s Humvee was hit by an improvised explosive device, often called an IED, on Oct. 23, 2005, resulting in the loss of both legs and his left hand. As a result of his injuries, he was awarded a Purple Heart. Anderson rehabilitated for 13 months at Walter Reed Army Hospital and is one of the few triple amputees to survive injuries in Iraq.

Today, Anderson is the national spokesman for Quantum Rehab and delivers his message of perseverance and determination across the country. He is also a spokesman for USA Cares, a nonprofit organization that focuses on assisting post-9/11 veterans in times of need.

Bloomsburg University is one of 14 universities in Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education. The university serves approximately 10,000 students, offering comprehensive programs of study in the colleges of Education, Business, Liberal Arts and Science and Technology.