Jerry Brand

by Terry Watson | January 8th, 2012
Jerry Brand

Jerry Brand (Photo by Jarvis Harris)

Jerry N. Brand of Greensboro, N.C., has a lot to be thankful for in his life. At 45 years of age, he is a retired North Carolina State Highway Patrol Trooper, former small business owner, and U.S. Army Veteran who served in special operations-military intelligence. He attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Guilford College. He is presently a full-time student, pursuing a degree in global international logistics and accounting. He’s a member of Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society and currently in a special relationship after being divorced. He has a 17 year old son and is determined to help his son make the transition into manhood. He says his son taught him how to have a short memory when someone corrects you or in your opinion mistreats you. His dad who is 94 years young has taught him how to work hard and that it will not kill you. His mother and grandmother instilled in him that you need a strong spiritual life to make it in this world. Having so many people pour into him, Brand says that he had call on his faith after experiencing a life changing situation. This is his story told by him:

“On the third day of March in 2006, while conducting a routine driver’s license checkpoint on Pettigrew Street near Briggs Avenue in Durham County, a green Honda made a U-turn to avoid a checkpoint. I was standing outside my cruiser when I spotted the vehicle and proceeded into a chase. The chase lasted approximately three miles before I lost control of my police cruiser, which became airborne due to a defect in the roadway. The vehicle traveled off the road to the left, down an embankment, and slammed into a utility pole and then a tree at approximately 100 miles per hour. The collision sheared the patrol vehicle in half and ejected the engine from the vehicle throwing it out into the roadway. I received multiple cuts, a broken left arm and factures to both legs.

I regained consciousness ten days later after being in a coma on March 13, 2006. I was in a high degree of pain and doctors had to use skin from my back to replace lost skin from my left leg, which had swollen to the size of my head. My left arm was numb and in a cast, and I had cuts all over me. I had over 200 stitches on both legs. My first reaction was one of disbelief because I thought I was having a bad dream; my injuries were a painful reality. My concern immediately was focused on my son who was twelve at the time; I was concerned as to how he was handling this. I worried how I was going to raise him because I knew he needed his father.

I was in Duke University Medical Center for 25 days and was later transported to a retirement home on March 28, 2006. I was placed with people twice my age because I needed 24 hour care. I later returned to Duke University Medical Center on April 19, due to an infection in my right leg. I was told by doctors that there was consideration to amputate my right leg, but if I chose not to be an amputee it wouldn’t be an easy journey. I chose the hard journey. I remained in the hospital for two weeks and then returned to the care facility for three months before leaving for my home in Pleasant Garden.

This began to be my routine for the next year and a half; entering the hospital, and then leaving fighting infections and pain management coupled with 18-20 surgeries. My physical therapy was simple at first; it consisted of learning how to sit up again in a chair to more intense workouts. I was in physical therapy for approximately a year and a half. I not only received physical therapy, but I also had to deal with the emotional effects of my injuries. Image being healthy and strong one day and wake up the next day in intense pain and unable to perform simple tasks such as going to the bathroom and taking a bath alone. I went from training troopers, a black belt martial artist, an active father, small business owner and student, to not being able to brush my teeth without assistance.
There has been times that I have asked “Why me Lord” but after thinking about it I still ask “Why me Lord? Why did you allow me to survive this because I know without a doubt that I could have not made it?” I was given a second chance and I grew stronger through this experience. I understand that chaos and hell can be all around you, but God can bring you through it.
I went through a separation of two years after the wreck and later a divorced after nearly twenty years of marriage. I remember eating lunch with my son alone at the care center I was in. He was then twelve and he shared with me how while he was at school the news of my wreck came across as breaking news on TV and he saw the car before anyone could get to him and tell him. I understood then the impact of the
wreck on others who loved me.

I love helping people; most people think of State Troopers as ticket writing machines, but during my career I helped so many people. Currently I am focusing my attention on motivational and inspirational speaking and continueing to do good things to help others.”

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