A Florida Republican congressman who lost both of his legs while serving in the Army in Afghanistan is coming back to The Villages.
Rep. Brian Mast, who is in his second term representing the 18th Congressional District and is the co-chair of the Trump Victory Campaign for Florida, will speak to members of The Villages chapter of Trump Team 2020 Florida on Wednesday, Oct. 14. The event, which will be limited to 192 participants because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, will be held at the Rohan Recreation Center from 6-9 p.m.
Those wishing to get free tickets to hear Mast speak can click HERE. Gold members of Trump Team 2020 Florida will meet with him in a 30-minute private session beginning at 6 p.m. Because of COVID-19, no food or drinks will be provided, though attendees are welcome to bring their own.
Those attending the event also should bring face coverings. There will be a 50/50 drawing and Trump merchandise will be available for purchase.
Mast, an ardent supporter of President Trump, was elected to Congress in November 2016 by winning 53 percent of the vote. He was re-elected in 2018 and currently is running against Democrat Pam Keith for his third term.
Mast served in the Army for more than 12 years and earned several medals, including a Bronze Star, an Army Commendation Medal for Valor, a Purple Heart and the Defense Meritorious Service Medal. While deployed in Afghanistan, he worked as a bomb disposal expert under the elite Joint Special Operations Command.
The combat engineer was critically injured in September 2010 while helping to clear a path for Army Rangers in Kandahar. He stepped on an improvised explosive device on a roadway and eventually had to have both of his legs and his left index finger amputated.
But Mast remained on active duty during his recovery and provided his expertise to the National Nuclear Security Administration and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms. After retiring from the Army, he continued working in counter-terrorism and national defense as an explosive specialist with the Department of Homeland Security. He also earned a degree from Harvard University and volunteered to serve alongside the Israel Defense Forces to show support for the freedom that strong United States ally represents throughout the Middle East and across the globe.
Mast, who in 2018 was said to be under consideration by Trump for the top Veterans Affairs post, currently serves on the state House’s Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the Foreign Affairs Committee. He and his wife, Brianna, live in Palm City with their four children, Magnum, Maverick, Madalyn and Major.
Mast is no stranger to The Villages, having visited the mega-retirement community in September 2015 to attend the Villagers for Veterans Indy Orchid Gala. He performed “God Bless America” during the annual event, which raised money to benefit injured veterans.
At that gala, Mast told Villages-News.com that he believed all veterans returning home from combat “just want to be treated like everybody else.” He said they don’t want to be seen as broken, injured or maimed.
“We’re people who gave our service to the United States of America,” he said. “We were doing something we loved. We were doing something we wanted to do. Our service in the military builds character. Veterans knows what it means and we never lose what we learned in the service.”