Growing up, Paul Brondhaver lived a simple life. His mother worked hard and did her best to provide for her family, but in the eyes of society they were considered poor. To pay for college, he joined the army at 17 and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Arts and Science from the University of Cincinnati, in 1991. He married his high school sweetheart Lisa Callebs, with whom he has three children.
For 21 years, he served the army. Over time, Paul Brondhaver was promoted to Staff Sergeant (SSG). His military service took him all over the world—Honduras, Germany, Panama, Kuwait, and Iraq—where he served on active duty for 19 different missions and operations. Sadly, his military career came to an end in July 2004. North of Baghdad, Iraq, SSG Brondhaver’s patrol unit came under attack with small arms fire and a rocket propelled grenade that exploded near his Humvee. His body was perforated with over 300 pieces of shrapnel and 29 bullets. Twice, SSG Brondhaver flat lined and still he suffers from Traumatic Brain Injury, severe Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, as well as Survivor’s Guilt—a fellow soldier and friend was killed in the attack. Physically, he continues to suffer with continuous headaches, pain, arthritis and vertigo. But coming home and watching buddies commit suicide and reading far too many eulogies at funerals, has hurt even more. He says, “Even though this took place in my life, my cup is still half full, never half empty. I don’t complain about anything.”
In 2011, SSG Brondhaver stepped out of his comfort zone and became a part of Team MBA 705 at Indiana Wesleyan’s Cincinnati Regional Education and Conference Center. He speaks highly of his experience with IWU. “During the program I had some medical situations, but the staff adjusted and was caring and acted just like Jesus would have acted. They responded with love, sincerity, and encouragement.” With the knowledge he gained, SSG Brondhaver decided to start a business. He is still working on getting it off the ground thru the Center for Veteran Enterprises, along with the Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business organization. Yet he states, “because of IWU my future is looking brighter and brighter every day. I have been so blessed by IWU. I am so very grateful for all the patience, commitment, and determination that all the staff gave each and every day.”
The Alumni Office would like to say thank you to SSG Paul Brondhaver, and all other servicemen, for their service and sacrifice. God Bless!