Green Beret Sgt. 1st Class Tim Brumit heard cries for help as a young girl struggled to save her life in the stormy waves off the Florida coast. The Special Forces soldier spotted the girl, and without hesitation he dove headfirst in the choppy surf, amid the heavy winds and driving rain, to try to save the child.
His heroic gesture turned out to be a drastic mistake. The waters were too shallow and Tim Brumit, a Green Beret, Bronze Star recipient, and father of two children broke his neck, paralyzing him from the neck down.
Military Times reports Brumit, an engineer with 7th Special Forces Group, was admitted in the hospital following the July 25 accident.
Brumit’s father, Randy Brumit, a retired Army chief warrant officer 3 who also served in Special Forces, shared his family’s hopes and concerns.
“We’re not built to lay down and die. When he showed up to the hospital, he was totally paralyzed from the neck down, and expected to remain that way for the rest of his life. That’s what we were told.”
With the help his doctor Dr. Colby Maher of Baptist Hospital in Pensacola and emergency surgery, Tim has regained the use of his arms.
Randy Brumit commented about Dr. Maher’s emergency surgery.
“He told us he’s an aggressive neurosurgeon. He told us ‘some might wait weeks for the first surgery; I do mine within hours.’ I’m thankful for that.”
Green Beret, Tim Brumit’s accident occurred at about 4:15 p.m. at a beach community near Brumit’s post, at Eglin Air Force Base. After Brumit heard the cries for help, he dove off a pontoon boat that was anchored near a sand bar.
Brumit said he misjudged the waves passing under the vessel. Randy Brumit said after his son’s injury, a fellow soldier helped move Brumit’s body onto a surfboard, where the Green Beret floated in the rain while waiting for help.
Later, the young girl was finally rescued by another boat when she was located 400-500 meters away.
Green Beret Tim Brumit served eight years with 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment.
Randy says Tim has not given up and is doing his best to regain himself.
“That’s how we special operations guys look at it. He challenged the physical therapist, ‘what’s your record? I’ll beat it.'”
Tim told his surgeon, “I’m going to walk back in and shake your hand and thank you for what you’ve done with me.”
Randy Brumit set up a Facebook page providing updates on the progress of his son.
Throughout his recovery, Green Beret Tim Brumit holds a firm grip on his family’s motto, instilled by his father: “What the mind can conceive the body can achieve.”
[Feature image via Randy Brumit]