Veterans Day speaker: 'We all share experiences'
When Brian Floyd left the Army, he neatly packed memories of his four years as an Infantry Officer with the 82nd Airborne Division in a box. The box remained untouched for more than 10 years as he moved forward with life.
Now 37, the Concord resident has opened that box and is sharing his story of service and life after military. Floyd joins other veterans, schoolchildren and officials as the keynote speaker at Cabarrus County’s time-honored Veterans Day program, Monday, November 11 at 11 a.m. at the Boys and Girls Club of Cabarrus County (247 Spring St., NW, Concord).
As Floyd prepares for the speech, sorting through the keepsakes, certificates and photos in preparation, he’s rediscovering who he was as a soldier.
“It’s like I’m reading a book about a life I forgot about,” Floyd said.
Weeks after his basic infantry officer course, Floyd was the first of his Citadel class to deploy. He operated throughout the Sunni Triangle in the areas of heaviest fighting intermittently from 2004 to 2008.
After his second deployment, Floyd decided to end his military career. He made a quick exit from the Army and did his best to assimilate to life his hometown of Concord.
“Boom—I was home,” he said. “The transition was hard. I took the first job I was offered. It was clear it wasn’t for me.”
During his short stint as an insurance agent, Floyd also coached youth football. He was at peace on the field. He was in his community and supporting children.
Carla Black, principal of the school, saw potential in Floyd and took a chance on him. In 2008, she and hired him as a Career and Technical Education teacher, and football and track coach. He became Concord High School’s Teacher of the Year in 2014.
“It was hard to find a purpose after the military and I found that purpose as a coach,” Floyd said. “Mentally, it brought me home.”
In 2013, Floyd married his wife Stephanie, a schoolmate he reconnected with when he taught her two younger siblings.
In 2014, he switched careers and became a loan officer. While he misses teaching, his new career connects him with the community in a different way. Now he’s involved through community service, philanthropy and as a father.
The Floyds have a three-year-old son, Bane, and a three-week-old daughter, Hollins. They are also parents to Ella, who died in 2018 at three-weeks-old while awaiting a heart transplant for her congenital heart defect.
Reconnecting with a military past
Floyd’s son, Bane, reconnected him to his military past.
“We were at the Cabarrus County Fair and it was a hot day—probably around a hundred degrees,” Floyd said. “We were hiding from the heat in the air conditioned hall and Bane saw the Veterans Services booth. He wanted to see the Army man.”
That man was Tony Miller, director of Cabarrus County’s Veterans Services Office. Miller told Floyd about healthcare services.
“He made it easy,” Floyd said. “He told my wife to make sure I make an appointment by the end of the month. He said that at the very least, I’ll want to get on record. I called them back within a few days.”
Floyd is now working with the Veterans Services office to establish his case with the Veterans Administration Office. Floyd and Miller are piecing together Floyd’s medical history, an often challenging part of the processes.
“I’ve had problems physically, but I have my fingers and toes,” Floyd said. “I want to get the process started now and not when my body falls apart. The process is a lot easier than I thought it would be, but I’m still going through it.”
Now that Floyd knows about Veterans Services programs, he wants to be involved.
“Veterans are not all the same,” Floyd said. “We had different experiences, but we all share experiences. I want to honor that time of my life. I want to help.”
For more information on Cabarrus County Veterans Services Office, visit www.cabarruscounty.us/vets or call 704-920-2869.
Cabarrus County Veterans Day Ceremony
The Cabarrus County Veterans Services Office, along with the Cabarrus County Boys and Girls Keystone Club and City of Concord, will pay tribute to veterans, Monday, November 11, at 11 a.m., at the Boys and Girls Club of Cabarrus County (247 Spring St., NW, Concord).
The community is invited as area Jr. ROTC, honor guard members, the Ladies of Auxiliary and many others honor our veterans with a Presentation of the Colors, wreath presentation, songs from service and refreshments.
Cabarrus County Veterans Day closings
Cabarrus County government offices, including the Cabarrus County Government Center, Human Services Center, all library branches, senior centers, Animal Shelter, County Landfill and the Household Hazardous Waste Facility will close on Monday, November 11.
Cabarrus County parks, including Camp T.N. Spencer, Frank Liske, Vietnam Veterans, and Rob Wallace and are open on Veterans Day, from 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
Republic Services curbside garbage and recyclable collections for residents in unincorporated parts of Cabarrus will operate normally.
Copyright ©2017 Cabarrus County