Soldier paralyzed after heroic action

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CRAB ISLAND, FL - A soldier dove into stormy water to save a girl from drowning but broke his neck in the process.

Now, the same grit that led him to help her is helping drive his recovery.

Reporter Laura Hussey spoke to him in the hospital.

(Tim Brumit/Broke neck trying to save girl) "I've been through tougher. This is not gonna set me back."

He’s deployed eleven times in twelve years.

Sergeant first class Tim Brumit acts instinctively in a crisis.

On Saturday, the calm waters of Crab Island were churned up by a storm.

He heard screams that a girl was drowning.

(Tim Brumit/Broke neck trying to save girl) "They said don't go in the water, it's storming. I dove. My misjudgment was that the wave moved out of the way and turned into a foot of water, probably, as soon as I went. I'm 6'4, so I went in the water, hit my head first, and I'm like 'Oh, I'm done.'"

He felt his neck break.

(Tim Brumit/Broke neck trying to save girl) "As soon as I hit I felt a crack, a crunch, and I knew it was broken. I couldn't move my hands or legs, and I was conscious. No pain at all. I was just like well, if I don't have anyone see this, I'm not getting out of the water. I tried my best."

A fellow soldier pulled him out of the water.

Two cervical vertebrae were broken; his spinal cord severely damaged.

(Randy Brumit/Father of Tim Brumit) "What's our motto? What's the family motto?"

(Tim Brumit) "The mind can see it; the body can achieve."

(Randy Brumit / Father of Tim Brumit) "What the mind can conceive, the body can achieve.

Right, buddy?"

(Tim Brumit) "Yep."

Dad Randy was a Special Forces soldier, too.

Now, the whole family is on a mission.

Tim wasn't sure what his kids would think, but to them he's still dad.

(Tim Brumit/Broke neck trying to save girl) "All they cared about was the visible scars. They're like, 'Is that a boo boo?' I'm like, 'Yeah, it's a little boo boo, you know.' And I said, 'But look, I can move this.' I was like, 'But Daddy can't walk yet, okay?' And I said, 'Okay. I love you so much,' and I said, 'I've got to be strong. You know.' I want to do that for them."

People with this type of injury aren't expected to walk, but Brumit says he's not even worried about it.

(Tim Brumit/Broke neck trying to save girl) "Like in the Army selections or schools I go to, many men cry or fail. If he can do it, why can't I do it, so I'll be going for a record time, for sure."

The girls who nearly drown was rescued by someone on another boat.

Tim Brumit says he wouldn't hesitate to dive into that water again.

Google Map for coordinates 30.390517 by -81.586760.

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