An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Reservist intent on helping others teams up with unique nonprofit

  • Published
  • By Bo Joyner

As an aeromedical evacuation technician with the Air Force Reserve’s 934th Airlift Wing, Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport Air Reserve Station, Minnesota, and a civilian paramedic in Madison, Wisconsin, Master Sgt. Brian Tremain has a heart for helping people make it through some of the toughest times in their life. And he encourages all of his patients to continue to seek help even after they leave his ambulance or the back of a military transport plane.

“I think it’s super important, especially after two-plus years of a pandemic, for people to find support and find community for whatever they are going through,” he said. “I’ve noticed on my military deployments that we are seeing a lot more wounded warriors with mental health issues, and it’s critical that these heroes continue to seek help from people who are experiencing the same kind of things.”

The Air Force has numerous avenues for its members who are looking for help dealing with mental health problems, and there are countless nonprofit organizations designed to help service members cope with life’s difficulties.

For example, Tremain has a special relationship with Operation Wake Surf – a nonprofit with the mission of providing camaraderie and community to first responders and military members as it teaches them to wake surf.

Tremain met Robby Maschhaupt, OWS founder, a couple of years ago and the two developed a fast friendship. When Tremain deployed late in 2020, Maschhaupt sent him some OWS items and asked if he could have them signed by the deployed military members.

Tremain did him one better.

“We were actually able to fly the Operation Wake Surf banner on board one of our missions in Afghanistan to fly home wounded warriors,” he said. “We got a letter of authenticity with the mission number and the crew members signed it and I had a custom shadow box made for the U.S. flag we flew on that mission along with the certificate we put behind glass.”

Tremain was able to present the signed banner to Maschhaupt and then attend an OWS event in North Carolina this summer. He said he was amazed by the experience.

“In the back of my mind, I was kind of hoping to meet one of my patients at the event,” he said. “While that didn’t happen, I did get to see first-hand how organizations like Operation Wake Surf can help people heal. First of all, it’s super fun to get out on the water and learn how to wake surf, but it’s even more important to learn from some truly inspiring coaches and to connect with other people who might be going through some of the same challenges you are going through.”

“It’s a huge honor to be able to provide this service,” Maschhaupt said. “Whether you are a Reservist or active duty, whether you saw action or didn’t see action, a hero is a hero. And, in my heart, all of our service members are heroes.”

“In both my civilian job and my Reserve job, I get to see people in their most vulnerable state,” Tremain said. “It’s a gift to be able to come alongside and care for them. I’m thankful there are organizations like Operation Wake Surf that continue to offer community and support for people long after their initial traumatic event.”

For more on Tremain’s OWS experience, check out this video

.For more on Operation Wake Surf, go to their website.