You may have learned about Holdfast Recovery’s founder, Brendan McDonough, through the movie “Only the Brave,” released in 2017, but there is much more to know about this wildland firefighter and first responder. Though the film honored his firefighter brothers and their legacy, the truth about Brendan and his recovery became the driving force for him to reach others in desperate need of help. Today, Brendan McDonough is the founder of Holdfast Recovery.
Instability riddled Brendan’s early years. As a single mom, his mother did the best she could, but they frequently moved into rough areas due to financial hardship. Like many kids, he struggled with sibling rivalry that pushed him away from his family and left him wide-open to bad influences. With all this pressure at home, he started using and abusing drugs as a teen and young adult, eventually leading him to a heroin addiction.
During his struggle with addiction, Brendan decided to take steps to turn his life around for the sake of his soon-to-be-born daughter. With much hard work and support, he joined Prescott, Arizona’s elite firefighting team, the Granite Mountain Hotshots. Can we clarify being sober upon hiring? I dont want people to think I was using during my time as a firefighter thank you. He eventually ended up serving as a lookout as the team fought a severe fire near Yarnell, Arizona. Unfortunately, this devastating firestorm killed all 19 of his brothers, leaving Brendan as the sole survivor.
Recovering from this unimaginable tragedy is what set Brendan on the path to helping others who are struggling with trauma-related substance abuse, which includes a unique passion for helping first responders and service members. He still lives in Prescott with his wife and three children while supporting and running Holdfast Recovery.
Awards, Recognition and Accomplishments
Brendan has done much to provide support for both veterans and first responders, as they are close to his heart. Through a nonprofit organization 22KILL, he was recognized for his service and received the key to the city of Fort Worth, Texas. He currently speaks as a motivational speaker for many public and private events. While medical(PTSD) problems forced him to give up his career as a firefighter, he believes that his larger purpose in life is to help others recover from trauma like he suffered and to offer treatments such as faith BASED counseling and therapy for recovery. Post-traumatic stress disorder and alcoholism, opioid addiction are particularly common among the demographics Holdfast Recovery treats due to the trauma individuals face in these careers.
A Faith-Fueled Recovery
Brendan’s life was much like that of the people who walk through the doors of Holdfast Recovery today. It took hard work to get where he is, but his faith has made it possible to free him from the shame and guilt that was holding him prisoner. His relationship with Jesus and Christian-based treatment have helped him heal and help others do the same. With the support of his friends and family members and the Prescott community, Brenand McDonough now has created purpose from his pain by establishing Holdfast Recovery. Fellow first responders and men who are struggling with drugs and alcohol have a safe harbor to recover and free themselves from addiction just as Brendan did.