Brian Kellum served a more than 15-year career in law enforcement, where he faced danger and worked hard to catch criminals guilty of heinous crimes. “I spent several years in law enforcement, have been through three sniper schools, all more advanced than the first one, worked as a Private Military Contractor serving as a Designated Defensive Marksman and Sniper overseas, as well as on a Human Trafficking Taskforce,” Brian said.
Brian also worked through a private security firm contractor during Hurricane Erma in North Miami and Hurricane Michael in Panama City.
Brian was always interested in law enforcement and had taken classes in criminal justice after earning his GED at 18. He took a break from criminal justice to get married and raise his children. Before his heart attack at the age of 33, Brian was working in engineering as a design coordinator, working on designing buildings.
He decided to pivot careers following his health event, reigniting his passion for law enforcement. He worked for Tennessee Wildlife Resources as a technician to get his foot in the door. He took various certified classes, where he saw a video about human trafficking. As the father of two daughters, this video led him to pursue that avenue of law enforcement and begin working on a Human Trafficking Taskforce.
After retiring from his law enforcement career, Brian began isolating himself, taking a job out on a farm and then at Home Depot, where he stocked shelves at night. “I got secluded where I had never been before,” Brian said.
Brian said he tried to push away his feelings that he had PTSD and other health issues from working and making sacrifices in law enforcement. Once he admitted that his PTSD needed to be treated, he began looking for solutions, leading him to Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs. In January 2022, Brian was paired with his service dog Renegade.
“He gives me the will to get up, feed him, carry him out to do his business, etc. Now I can go to hardware stores, Walmart, family events, go out eat, and do other activities that I had isolated myself from,” Brian said. Renegade also helps Brian with his night terrors and flashbacks that he experiences several times a week, waking him up and helping him regain his focus.
With his family’s support and Renegade’s help, Brian has regained a “new normal” within his daily life. “Renegade has made a complete 180° difference. He is always there, period, as I am for him. He has given me the courage to face life head-on versus staying in the dark all the time,” said Brian.
Brian currently works as an ambassador in West Tennessee for Operation Underground Railroad (O.U.R). This non-profit organization leads the fight against child sex trafficking in the U.S. and internationally. Brian works with this organization to help spread their message, providing tools and resources to law enforcement while strengthening preventative measures for at-risk children around the globe.
To learn more about other Guardian Angels Medical Service Dog Recipients, visit the Meet Our Recipients page!