There’s a big heart behind the big mustache

Mr. Brummett gazes at the battle flag given to him by his son Cory, who is currently serving in the U.S. Navy near Afghanistan.

COLBY QUALLS – Hoof Prints Editor

As Mr. Steve Brummett relaxes at home, he waits. Letters are opened with enthusiasm. It’s not there. E-mails are checked regularly. Nothing. Telephone calls are answered without hesitation. It’s not the right voice. He watches the news in case the unthinkable has happened. Fortunately, his son’s name doesn’t come up. As he paces through the house, an American battle flag reflects through the glass case. Mr. Brummett glances at it and thinks of his son.

Cory Brummett is the only son of Mr. Steve Brummett. With a football player’s physique and an interest in science and mathematics, he is a younger replica of his father. From an early age, he knew he wanted to be a professional football player. He played football with an unbridled passion throughout his entire high school career. His aspirations soon changed when only smaller colleges considered him due to his smaller size.

“By that time, he had grown up a little bit and saw that football wasn’t everything in life,” Mr. Brummett said.

When the United States Naval Academy offered Cory a scholarship worth almost a quarter of a million dollars, he seized the opportunity to have a better education. Part of the conditions of the scholarship though was a commitment of at least 6 years of service in the Navy.

“We didn’t have the money to send him to a real good school,” said Mr. Brummett. “The education you get at Annapolis is comparable to Harvard, Yale and MIT. So, it was just such an opportunity that giving a few years of service to the military seemed like a good trade-off for the type of education he got.”

After serving his term, Cory was offered a $50,000 bonus to sign-up longer. Mr. Brummett said it was an offer his son couldn’t refuse. Not only that, but by the age of 38, Cory will be able to retire due to his experience within the Navy.

Currently Cory is stationed in the Arabian Sea on an aircraft carrier. His fleet left last February 1. He is in close proximity to countries such as Iran, Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Previously, Cory has been stationed in a deserted area of Afghanistan. There were no traces of people or civilization in a 100 mile radius.

Each of these tours lasts around two years. This makes it more difficult for Mr. Brummett to see his son. Communication is usually limited to e-mails, telephone calls, letters and video communication such as Skype. His visits in person are even rarer.

Mr. Brummett worries constantly about the safety of his son. Since the start of Operation Enduring Freedom in 2001 there have been over 1,100 U.S. military fatalities and and almost 8,000 wounded. With operations ending in Iraq, more focus is being concentrated on Afghanistan. There is always that possibility that Cory could be one of those casualties. Just another statistic of war.

Cory gave gave his father a token of his career, an American battle flag that flew during a skirmish in the Philippines. Cory was one of the many men who fought in this battle. Mr. Brummett had it framed and hung in his house. Every morning and evening he passes it throughout the day. Sometimes he sees a reflection of his son through the glass.

He also sees his son in the faces of his students. Carefree students who are mainly concerned with weekend plans and dates. Students that are taking life one day at a time. He can’t help but wonder how many of these will be soldiers themselves one day.

“Since I’ve come to Buffalo Island, I’ve come to view a lot of the kids here as my kids too,” he said.