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
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.
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.