Time with the colonel

900842 brewer

I was very pleased to be able to spend time with Col. Tom Brewer last month. He had been our contact and guide in Afghanistan and is through and through a good man.

Read some of Matthew Hansen’s stories on his various military exploits below, including the most recent, which was published in this week’s Sunday paper.

October 2009: Brewer aids in anti-heroin push

February 2011: Mission impossible: Afghanistan

July 2011: Summer of unease in war zone

900842 brewer

Brewer and I got to know each other a bit in Afghanistan, so I was very upset to hear that a rocket-propelled grenade slammed into his vehicle in December 2011.

When I was assigned to make some pictures of Brewer back in Lincoln, I was anxious to see him. His list of injuries was long, but I also knew he was not one to give in to a physical challenge. First I photographed him in physical therapy, then we met again for portraits at the Nebraska State Capitol.

We talked about Afghanistan, of course. He feels that his mission is not yet finished in the country, and he hopes to return.

The conversation reminded me of some of the people I met, including the children at Tomorrow’s Hope, an orphanage in Kabul, to which Brewer gave clothes, toys and school supplies donated by people back home.

605738 orphanage

605738 orphanage

Few people ever find a calling like Col. Brewer has, and even fewer pursue it so wholeheartedly. Saying I respect the man doesn’t even begin to cut it.

Alyssa Schukar

About Alyssa Schukar

I have been a staff photojournalist at the Omaha World-Herald since September 2008. I'm from Lincoln and am a 2006 graduate of the College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Previously, I worked as an assistant at Malone and Co., a commercial photography studio in Omaha. My favorite pictures are those that give insight on the life of an individual or family because I understand the world better through the experiences of the people I meet. It's always humbling to be allowed such intimate access. My most challenging assignments come in many forms. Funerals, especially those of soldiers, always are emotionally draining, but I try to approach people with respect and dignity. In my time at the paper, I have covered a wide variety of assignments, including the Nebraska and Iowa National Guard's deployments in Afghanistan, Husker football at home and away, portraits of wigs big and small, rodeo queen competitions and intimate views of everyday life and love. Follow me on twitter @OWHalyssa.
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