Soldier Celebrates 21st Birthday
Pfc. Brett Bondurant shows off
one of the new legs he has been
using during his rehabilitation.
Bondurant turns 21-years-old
(Greendale, Ind.) – An explosion in Afghanistan on September 28 could have meant no more birthdays or no wedding for Brett Bondurant.
The Army private from Greendale was trekking through the war-torn country outside of the city of Kandahar with his unit when an improvised explosive device detonated. Some members of Bondurant’s unit were killed. Several others suffered serious injuries.
Bondurant lost his legs in that instant, but has since gained a new lease on life. That will be marked Monday when he celebrates his 21st birthday.
His newlywed wife London – they were married November 5 – and his grandfather, Vietnam veteran Jerry Bondurant, are with Brett on his birthday as he continues to recover at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas.
Christmas for the Bondurant family will come early this year. Plans are being made to bring Brett home to southeast Indiana for a few days on Saturday, December 17. It would be his first time home since deploying to Afghanistan.
“I don’t know what it’s going to be like, but I imagine it will be pretty crazy,” Bondurant told Eagle 99.3 by phone Monday morning.
LISTEN TO EAGLE 99.3′S INTERVIEW WITH BRETT BONDURANT, HIS MOTHER JANELLE, AND LITTLE BROTHER JORDAN ON OUR SOUNDBYTES PAGE.
Brett’s mother, Janelle Bondurant Krabbe, said she has heard interest of a parade being organized. Those details are currently being worked out.
The 2009 Lawrenceburg High School graduate has been keeping in touch with old friends and family back home and countless new friends around the country using Facebook, Skype, and texting on a new cell phone.
Most days, Bondurant wakes up around 6:00 a.m. and visits the Center for the Intrepid at Fort Sam Houston where he performs his rehabilitation.
“It’s not as hard as I thought it was going to be. It felt pretty normal actually,” Bondurant said confidently as he prepared for another day of getting accustomed to his new legs.
He uses a pair of canes to help him keep his balance as he walks on his own. Brett’s family is hopefully he’ll eventually ditch those and soon be off and running, literally.
“Brett’s physically doing great. He has his first set of legs and will probably have four sets of legs before he’s completely through with his rehab,” said Krabbe, adding her son shows improvement every day.
Eventually, Brett will be able to run, play sports, and do anything he wants to, Krabbe said.
There are some obstacles to overcome for Bondurant’s recovery. He still has nightmares and suffers occasional phantom pains, sensations of discomfort amputees often experience in limbs that are no longer there.
But, a good soldier keeps a good attitude.
“Brett has never felt that his life was over,” said Krabbe. “Even when he had to be sleeping a lot in the hospital, he’s just wanted to get on with rehab. Brett’s goal is to be the first one back on the front line without legs.”
Whether he can make it back to his unit will depend on the success of a long physical recovery. Bondurant said no soldier in his position has ever made it back to combat.
“I’ve got a lot of support,” he said.
Brett’s younger brother Jordan, a sophomore at Lawrenceburg High School, can attest to his sibling’s attitude.
“He’s a little worse,” Jordan laughed when asked if he’s still picked on as little brother.
Another in a series of benefit events for the Brett Bondurant Recovery Fund will be held on Saturday, October 10. The benefit will take place at Agner Hall at the Dearborn County Fairgrounds in Lawrenceburg from noon to midnight. There will be live music, food, door prizes, beverages, and raffles.