Although I heard the bearded giant perform at various music venues around the Columbia area, I didn’t formally meet U.S. Navy Veteran Brooks Herring until we brought him in the WWNQ 94.3 The Dude studio to help promote an event. He was in to discuss a fundraiser at The Big Red Barn, a retreat in Blythewood that offers programs to military and first responders. In fact, I had no idea he was a veteran before that occasion, but after talking with him I knew I had to feature him on a Soldier Salute.

Herring sums up his story in the first few minutes of the show, talking about growing up in Conway, where he joined the Navy right out of high school.

“I spent six years on active duty, deployed to the Gulf of Mexico for Hurricane Katrina relief, deployed to Africa and Iraq, then when I got out I spent two years working as an Army civilian, spent the whole time in Afghanistan,” he said.

Like many of the men and women who have served, he came back home looking for a purpose. After owning a restaurant, he found himself enrolled at the University of South Carolina where he’s working on a degree in physical therapy.  He said he hopes to apply those skills to help veterans.

It was Herring’s musical talents that brought him to my attention and he goes more into his background in music in the interview. “I started really playing and writing my own music back in 2006 when I was in Iraq,” Herring said. “It’s very therapeutic to me to be able to express what I feel through music, whether it be through a song that I write, or a song that I can relate to.”

In one of the segments of this week’s Soldier Salute, you’ll be able to hear a sampling of his talents as Brooks performs the chorus to his original song “Why Me.”

Tune in this week and you’ll hear more behind the details of the life of U.S. Navy Veteran Brooks Herring. The Dude’s Soldier Salute plays at various times throughout the week.

Categories: Columbia, Military, Richland County

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