CONCORD — When Brian Floyd left the Army, he neatly packed memories of his four years as an infantry officer with the 82nd Airborne Division in a box. The box remained untouched for more than 10 years as he moved forward with life.
Now 37, the Concord resident has opened that box and is sharing his story of service and life after the military. Floyd joined other veterans, schoolchildren and officials as the keynote speaker at Cabarrus County’s time-honored Veterans Day program Monday, Nov. 11, at the Boys & Girls Club of Cabarrus County (247 Spring St. NW, Concord).
As Floyd prepared for the speech, sorting through the keepsakes, certificates and photos in preparation, he’s rediscovering who he was as a soldier.
“It’s like I’m reading a book about a life I forgot about,” Floyd said.
Weeks after his basic-infantry-officer course, Floyd was the first of his Citadel class to deploy. He operated throughout the Sunni Triangle intermittently from 2004 to 2008, in the areas of heaviest fighting.
After his second deployment, Floyd decided to end his military career. He made a quick exit from the Army and did his best to assimilate to life in his hometown of Concord.
“Boom — I was home,” he said. “The transition was hard. I took the first job I was offered. It was clear it wasn’t for me.”
During his short stint as an insurance agent, Floyd also coached youth football. He was at peace on the field. He was in his community and supporting children.
Carla Black, principal at the school, saw potential in Floyd and took a chance on him. In 2008, she hired him as a Career and Technical Education teacher, and football and track coach. He became Concord High School’s Teacher of the Year in 2014.
“It was hard to find a purpose after the military, and I found that purpose as a coach,” Floyd said. “Mentally, it brought me home.”
In 2013, Floyd married Stephanie, a schoolmate he reconnected with when he taught her two younger siblings.
In 2014, he switched careers and became a loan officer. While he misses teaching, his new career connects him with the community in a different way. Now he’s involved through community service, philanthropy and as a father.
The Floyds have a 3-year-old son, Bane, and a 3-week-old daughter, Hollins. They also are parents to Ella, who died in 2018 at 3 weeks old while awaiting a heart transplant for a congenital heart defect.
Reconnecting with a military past
Floyd’s son, Bane, reconnected him to his military past.
“We were at the Cabarrus County Fair, and it was a hot day — probably around a hundred degrees,” Floyd said. “We were hiding from the heat in the air- conditioned hall, and Bane saw the Veterans Services booth. He wanted to see the Army man.”
That man was Tony Miller, director of Cabarrus County’s Veterans Services Office. Miller told Floyd about health-care services.
“He made it easy,” Floyd said. “He told my wife to make sure I make an appointment by the end of the month. He said that at the very least, I’ll want to get on record. I called them back within a few days.”
Floyd is now working with the Veterans Services office to establish his case with the Veterans Affairs office. Floyd and Miller are piecing together Floyd’s medical history, an often challenging part of the process.
“I’ve had problems physically, but I have my fingers and toes,” he said. “I want to get the process started now and not when my body falls apart. The process is a lot easier than I thought it would be, but I’m still going through it.”
Now that Floyd knows about Veterans Services programs, he wants to be involved.
“Veterans are not all the same,” he said. “We had different experiences, but we all share experiences. I want to honor that time of my life. I want to help.”
For more information on Cabarrus County’s Veterans Services office, visit www.cabarruscounty.us/vets or call 704-920-2869.