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Brian Donarski

Brian Donarski

First Lieutenant
U.S. Army
Warrior Open Participant 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

First Lieutenant Brian “Ski” Donarski enlisted in the U.S. Marines in 1987 after after graduating from high school.  He served over ten years in the Marine Corps and was honorably discharged in 1998.  On September 11, 2001, Donarski waived his VA benefits, and re-enlisted in the United States Army in 2004.

First Lieutenant Brian “Ski” Donarski enlisted in the U.S. Marines in 1987 after after graduating from high school.  He served over ten years in the Marine Corps and was honorably discharged in 1998.  On September 11, 2001, Donarski waived his VA benefits, and re-enlisted in the United States Army in 2004.

During combat operations in the Anbar Province, Iraq in 2005, Donarski’s truck hit an improvised explosive device (IED), which resulted in serious injuries.  He suffers from four traumatic brain injuries (TBI), PTS, a back injury and a stable burst fracture in his neck. Donarski lost vision in his right eye, which requires the use of a prosthetic lens.  He has had multiple surgeries on both shoulders and arms to repair the clavicle, tricep and biceps.

Donarski spent 13 months rehabilitating at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington D.C.  With his daughters by his side, he learned to talk, read, write and walk all over again. Donarski turned to the game of golf, which helped in his recovery.  For him, it slowed things down and enabled him to process daily life skills. 

Donarski continued serving and successfully completed his deployment to Afghanistan in 2009 with 2nd Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne).  He completed the U.S. Army Officer Candidate School and was commissioned as a Lieutenant in the Military Intelligence Branch as an All-Source Intelligence Officer.  While Donarski attended Military Intelligence School, he was struck by a pick-up truck, which triggered his TBI, PTS and resulted in additional injuries.  After several years in various medical facilities, he was medically discharged in August 2012.

Donarski continues to utilize golf as a source of healing and helping others.  He has won many tournaments and placed successfully in others, including at the Bush Center’s Warrior Open. 

For his service, Donarski is the recipient of many awards and decorations, including the Purple Heart and Combat Action Badge for his actions that day in combat.  He is featured in George W. Bush’s book Portraits of Courage.  Donarski is involved with numerous non-profit charities.  He serves as the National Community Ambassador for Virginians for Veterans, mentors and conducts inspirational speeches for Hope For The Warriors, and assists disabled children at specialized camps.

None of his successes or awards compare to the pride that Donarski has as a father of his two amazing daughters, McKenzi and Maya.