State Senator Brian Birdwell (R-Granbury) and Dr. Charles O’Toole, D.O., also of Granbury, were recently honored for their “extraordinary qualities of leadership, service and patriotism” by the Texas Society Daughters of the American Revolution at its 114th Conference in Houston.
Birdwell was keynote speaker during the conference’s National Defense banquet and was presented the DAR’s most prestigious award – the DAR Medal of Honor. The award was given for the personal hardships Birdwell endured at the hands of terrorists during the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon, and for his impassioned mission of survival, love, hope, compassion and faith in supporting America’s most severely burned and injured troops.
During Birdwell’s address, the retired Lt.Colonel, U.S. Army, portrayed his horrific experiences and severe injuries when American Airlines flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon near the office where he was working, resulting in burns that covered nearly 60 percent of his body.
He also detailed his work as founder of Face the Fire Ministries, an organization that he currently serves as president.
In addition, Birdwell spoke of the book he co-authored with his wife, Mel Birdwell, “Refined by Fire: A Family’s Triumph of Love and Faith.”
Dr. O’Toole, a retired Brigadier General, U.S. Army, was presented the DAR Ellen Hardin Walworth Founder’s Medal for Patriotism for his outstanding patriotism in the promotion of our American ideals of “God, Home and Country” through faithful and meritorious service to the United States of America.
Dr. O’Toole, a primary care doctor for over 30 years, has served as an internist and hospitalist who specializes in geriatric care, as well as an Aviation Medical Examiner for the U.S. Air Force and the Federal Aviation Administration; as the Mobilization Assistant to the Deputy Surgeon General; and has served multiple assignments as Commander of various medical and surgical squadrons for the U.S. Army. As a true champion of science, Dr. O’Toole has participated on the Space Shuttle Recovery Team and in Operation Deep Freeze.
Members of the Elizabeth Crockett Chapter attending the conference were Chapter Regent Shelby Sackett; State Chairman, National Defense Committee, TXDAR Kathy Hanlon; State Chairman, Chapter Development & Revitalization Commission Marcy Carter-Lovick; Elizabeth Ashley; all of Granbury; and Betty Gosdin and Joan Taylor of Glen Rose.