A Conversation with Brian

Q: What inspired you to write Beyond the Mask?

A: People that both knew me well and some I only met recently kept asking me to write a book. I finally relented when I realized what an impact my story had on them. I would hear things like, “What an inspiration you are. Can you speak to my children about what you went through? Your story changed my life.” All of this was very humbling, and I decided the best way to help more people was to get my story out there!

Q: What do you hope is the biggest takeaway from the book?

A: That any person holds the key to their personal outcome in life no matter the obstacle. You owe it to yourself to put in your best effort regardless of setbacks and be the person you want to be. Hopefully this book allows you to adapt my lessons to your situation.

Q: After healing from your burns, what were some of your fears about the future?

A: There were too many to write here. The biggest one was acceptance, I assumed people would be accepting, but they are not. My lesson learned was that I had to accept myself and what happened to me before anything else. Then I could continue on with the new reality.

Q: Who in your life provided you with the greatest support, which allowed you to pursue a “normal” life after your incident?

A: At first my family and my parents and siblings. My wife, who I met several years after my accident really allowed me to have faith in people. As we grew our family and my business she was my greatest supporter and cheerleader. And… there is no “normal” for anyone!

Q: Why did you decide to go work in insurance knowing it would be a very face-to-face business?

A: I really liked the industry and how it is there for people at their absolute worst moments. What better way to continue to serve people and really be in a position to help them? Knowing I was never going to be an active firefighter again, it was the next best career.

Q: What advice would you give to your teenage self, who is worrying about how this tragedy will affect the rest of his life?

A: I would love to have gone through life without the excruciating pain and long recovery I endured, however, I would not trade it in for the world. This accident gave me great perspective, which revealed tenacity and resilience I may never have had to tap into. Bottom line it made me better and I have the scars to prove it!

Q: With the Covid 19 pandemic, many of us are wearing face masks when out in public. When these masks have come off for good, what do you hope people will have learned from this crisis?

A: Well first, I never thought I would ever have to go out in public wearing a mask again, I guess history does repeat itself! LOL. I hope people feel that they can get through anything. This virus was put in our laps and we dealt with it. People should learn that whatever is dealt them, they have the strength to overcome the situation no, matter how devastating it may be!