ABC Nightline and CBS’ 60 Minutes did a segment about US Soldier Brett Felton, whose courage led him to travel from Detroit to Iraq – on his own – and train Christian volunteers to fight ISIS. Brett knew very well the dangers involved yet risked his life because, he said, “I’d rather die serving other people.”
Brett quoted Jesus’ words, “What you do for the least of them, you do onto me,” adding, “I take these words very seriously. I take them to heart.”
Brett grew up in Michigan and served in the US Army after high school. He was deployed to Iraq in 2006-2007, later left the Army and worked for the Department of Defense as a contractor, and eventually returned to Nineveh in northern Iraq to link up with the Christian militia and fight ISIS. There, he lived in a church with an adjacent cemetery, which he described as “beautiful and peaceful.”
You hear a lot of Scripture woven into Brett’s conversation and the faith-based artwork and scripture on his body is an incredible sight. Even today, as he runs for the Mayor of Warren, he constantly gives gratitude to God and reflects on the blessings of the United States.
“We’re so blessed in this country that it’s beyond measure,” he recently wrote on his Facebook page facebook.com/BrettFeltonForMayor “Unfortunately, there is so much we take for granted.”
He reminds us of the God-given and constitutionally protected right to worship as we see fit, our freedom of speech, of having a roof over our heads, food on our plates, a democratic system which allows us to voice our opinions and many other blessings.
Having myself been born in Baghdad and coming to the U.S. at the age of ten, I know exactly what Brett is talking about. Even though I was a child when my family immigrated to this country, the oppression we experienced in Iraq left a deep wound. It’s not easy to undo the fear instilled by oppressive and violent regimes. It took decades of assimilation and acclimation for me to release the threads that kept me bound to a fear-based mentality that exists thousands of miles away. The positive side is that, given what our family had gone through, I more so appreciate and care for the blessings we do have here. Sometimes, when we haven’t seen the other side, we don’t fully recognize the significance of what we do have.
“I think it’s extremely important that we take time to recognize just how truly blessed we are,” Brett writes, “but more importantly to take stock of our situation and try to help others with our blessings so that we may provide blessings to others as well.” He notes that it’s written in Philippians 4:19 “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.”
Now that Brett is home in Metro Detroit, he wants to serve his community by running for Mayor of Warren. There are multiple issues which he feels need to be addressed in the City, including improving the roads without excessive millage, reducing the unfunded pension liabilities, transparency, adding new jobs, establishing a tighter-knit community, and reducing the tax burden to the citizen.
“We are not getting a fair return on our investment,” he said.
Brett wants to bring tech companies to Warren, to provide classes for personal finance to help ensure seniors living on a fixed income have a full understanding of their budget, and provide classes for our youth and younger generations to help provide instruction on investing and maintaining a well-balanced budget as they start out in life.
It’s obvious from his previous actions that Brett is not only about discussing and philosophizing on what to do but actually acting upon it. This is the type of courage needed in the driver’s seat. As Edmund Burke once said, “The only thing required for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”