SPEAKER: Brad Blauser
Topic of Presentation: Story of how a wheelchairs for kids program in Iraq developed with the US troops, and became the US based 501c3 Wheelchairs for Kids International.
Brad Blauser founded Wheelchairs for Kids International in 2013, after supporting US troops in Iraq on 56 missions over seven years, sourcing and distributing pediatric wheelchairs on humanitarian assistance missions. He worked with US Department of State USAID units, Civil Affairs units, Military Police, JSOC Special Forces units, US Marines and Iraq Army units to bring 985 custom fit wheelchairs to Iraqi children with walking disabilities. After leaving Iraq upon withdrawal of US troops, Brad returned to the four Northern Iraq Kurdish provinces alone and distributed 360 more pediatric wheelchairs in children’s rehabilitation centers, and to kids in rural Yazidi and Christian villages. After returning from Iraq, Brad founded Wheelchairs for Kids International and has distributed over 500 pediatric wheelchairs in Central America (Guatemala and Belize) on eleven missions.
Brad was honored to be selected as the Texas finalist for the Above and Beyond Award, presented by the Congressional Medal of Honor Society. Also, Brad was selected out of 9000 nominations as a top 10 CNN Hero in 2009, and received the CNN Heros award onstage in Hollywood presented by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.
Brad was born in Irving and raised in Hurst, and his parents were founding members of BlueBonnet Hills Cemetery in Colleyville in the 1960s. He was raised at First Baptist Hurst, where he currently co-leads a Senior Adult class. Brad graduated L. D. Bell High School in Hurst, and attended UT Arlington, graduating Texas A&M College Station in 1992 with Marketing BBA and Management BBA degrees. He currently lives in Grapevine where he works remotely as an Account Manager for InfoDefense, a cyber security provider for Defense contractors with a mandate for CMMC compliance.