When Michael Brumbaugh enlisted in the Marines in 2001, he had no idea what was in store for him. Deciding that he was not yet cut out for college life, he decided to enlist after the Gulf War, when the middle-east posed little threat to the most of the world. Two Naval Humanitarian Operations later, as tensions between the United States and Iraq began to escalate, his next tours would have him to fight in some of the most brutal accounts of recent military combat.
Brambaugh and his unit were called to Kuwait as the U.S. prepared to launch a surprise attack on Iraq in the spring of 2003. The invasion and fighting that ensued would eventually bring an end to Sadaam Hussein and his dictatorship. But the fall of Hussein only created more conflict as the Shias and Sunnis fought to gain power of the area. After deploying back home for a short time, Brumbaugh was called back to one of the most volatile areas during the war, Fallujah, Iraq.
His short-lived mission, ‘Operation Phantom Fury,’ produced many casualties and left horrific mental scars on Corporal Brambaugh. “I was dealing with a lot when I got back. Like many who had been in combat, I wasn’t sleeping and I was trying to figure out how to numb the mental anguish. I was even seeing a shrink through the V.A. Hospital,” remembers Brambaugh.
During this time, he also reconnected with a girl he had met, between tours, back home in Pennsylvania. He recalls having ‘the talk’ with her father once he realized he was ready to take the next step with Liz. “So I went to ask her father for her hand in marriage and after I did, before he answered, he wanted to first know how my relationship was with the Lord?’ And after a lengthy heart to heart, her dad finally said yes.
It was at that moment, Brumbaugh remembers talking to God and saying, “If you are real and can really do what they say you can, then take away the horrible memories of war and make me feel like myself again.” Miraculously, the next day, he woke up and they were gone. Quickly, he made a call to the psychologist he had been seeing to let him know his services were no longer needed. Expecting the worst, he recalls the doctor’s surprise when he called to check in with Brumbaugh two weeks later and he had nothing but good things to say about the turn his life had taken.
It was 2009 when the Brumbaughs decided to move to Colorado, never looking back. After initially accepting a job for the state, Brumbaugh later took a job working for the federal government in Castle Rock. And feeling a calling from a higher power, has worked since 2012 raising funds for The Rock Church and preschool. Through Shining Light Event Promotions, he has successfully donated $102,000 by bringing acts like singer Francesca Ballistelli and hosting two members of the cast of ‘Duck Dynasty’ for sold out events in Castle Rock.
Along with being a father to his two children, Caleb and Paige, he sits on the Castle Rock Parks and Recreation Board of Commissioners, is a leader for Cub Scout Pack 788 and works to assist multiple organizations that help our local veterans. Ultimately he hopes to use his diverse experiences and knowledge to further benefit the Town. “I’d like to eventually run for Town Council so I can continue to help the Veterans of Castle Rock as well as the local community.”