HOUSTON – Often the best work is a product of passion. When it comes to Brad’s Brigade, it is just that and more for Brad Davis.
Brad's Brigade is the organization Davis founded in 2006 to help area military veterans, and the reason he has been named for MLS W.O.R.K.S. Humanitarian of the Month for August.
When Davis, who comes from a military family, relocated to Houston with the Dynamo in 2006 he approached then president Oliver Luck about doing something for the veterans in the community. The reason: Davis’s cousin Jake, an Army Ranger who was wounded during a tour in Iraq, who he grew up very close to. Davis was eager to show his support for his cousin and all the military and Luck did not hesitate to give the midfielder a ticket package of four and thus began Brad’s Brigade.
“The big thing that got me into it was that I was really close with my cousin and he decided to go into the Army,” Davis told MLSsoccer.com. “The thing that really made me decide to jump on board was when my cousin was hit by the IED. That turned the light bulb on for me to start doing something bigger and better. I couldn’t be happier from where it started to where it is now.”
Where it is now is an organization that has grown from a ticket package of four to, with help from the Dynamo community and fans, providing tickets for over 1,500 military servicemen and women, along with their families, to July 3 Military Appreciation night and raising over $12,000 for the Texas Chapter of Paralyzed Veterans of America organization.
While the reward of working with such a large number of military members and their family is certainly there, for Davis, it still goes back to his relationship with his cousin Jake. As part of the Brad’s Brigade initiative, the pair got to share a special moment last December as part of a duck hunt, accompanied by Dynamo players Tally Hall and Jason Garey, in conjunction with the Wounded Warrior organization.
“I can’t tell you the emotion that runs just to get these guys out of the hospital with wheelchairs or prosthetics or whatever it may be,” the midfielder said. “Getting these guys out and shooting duck is great.
“The best part about it was that we were sitting there reminiscing on old times and then we had two geese come flying over and there were two geese and we were the only two there to shoot so we both got’em,” Davis recalled. “It was one of those moments that took us back and made me thankful he is still here and thankful for what those guys do.”
Davis has found a sure-fire way to show his thanks, and an added bonus is the involvement and support he has received from the fans and his teammates.
The 30-year-old Davis hinted at long-term plans for the organization saying that he plans to keep things going after his playing career is done and that it will never leave the Houston community where it has made a significant impact.
“It’s a perfect storm because he believes in it, it means a lot to him and the fans and people he works with see that and I think that’s why it’s taken off,” Hall said. “Hats off to him, he’s done a great job and it’s a good thing for Houston.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.