COLUMBIA, S.C. — In January of 2019, Brandon Zinn was riding his motorcycle when he was struck by an alleged drunk driver.
Brandon's life was changed forever.
While on his way to an applicant event at a fire station in the early morning hours, Brandon was stopped at a light on Bluff Rd. while riding his motorcycle when an alleged drunk driver struck him, "I don't remember any of it. These are all facts that were told to me," Zinn told News19.
The crash severed Zinn's left leg that was later amputated. He broke multiple bones in his right leg, suffered damaged to his kidney and liver, had his spleen removed, had a T2 fracture to his spine and a concussion. Along with some strange elbow damage that no one has quite been able to figure out.
Zinn suffered all of these injuries and was even wearing almost a full set of protective gear, "I had a road vest, a helmet, slide jacket- so spine [and] elbow pads, then pants and boots. I had all of that on," Zinn remembers, "Full gear."
At the time of the accident, Zinn was in his 16th week of the Columbia Fire Department's 18-week course to fulfill his childhood dream of becoming a firefighter. But that dream had to be put on hold.
Now, almost a full year later, Brandon is positive and full of hope, "Some ups and some downs but all in all I'm pretty happy with how things are at this point."
Zinn was walking on his prosthetic leg pretty quickly after the accident and is now getting himself back in shape to start firefighter school again, "They gave me the option to try and just redo the skills and try to pass it through that but this is a whole different lifestyle," Zinn told us, "I have to learn a different way to do it, I can't say, 'well I can get through these skills and that's it.' I want to be the best out there so I can help people not just be on the fire department just to be on the department. I want to be there to help people, I don't want to be a hindrance."
Currently, Zinn is trying to get back to jogging and running up stairs. He is even starting EMT classes on January 13, "I'm going to learn my EMT skills that way I'm going to be more valuable on the front lines with the department."
Throughout our conversation, Zinn was pouring out positivity. When asked why he is this way, Zinn answered, "Two weeks in the hospital, I was losing my mind just with depression and anger and frustration about this and one night I was like: 'I'm not going to let this hold on to me anymore. I forgive the man for what he did to me and that gave me peace in my heart. It gave me peace to be able to continue and live on the happy joyful life that I've always lived before."
Next week, an open house for Brandon will be taking place at Columbia Fire's Headquarters on Laurel St. From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. you can meet the family and have fun around the firetrucks. All of the money raised will go towards Brandon and his family's recovery and goal to be a firefighter.
If you would like to contribute to their GoFundMe, click here.