RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil – U.S. Paralympics, a division of the United States Olympic Committee announced that United States Army veteran and football 7-a-side defender Josh Brunais (Stafford, Virginia) has been selected to serve as the United States’ flag bearer for the Closing Ceremony of the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games on September 18. Brunais was chosen by a vote of fellow members of Team USA.
“The flag means a great deal to me,” said Brunais. “I have the utmost respect for what our flag means. I’ve represented this flag in one capacity and now to do so in another for a country that has done so much for me, this just feels incredible. I am so honored to have been chosen.”
Staff Sergeant Brunais, who served in the 75th Ranger regiment, retired in 2015 as a result of wounds he sustained from an IED blast. During his service, Brunais received the Soldier’s Medal after being credited for saving the lives of 14 men by pulling them out of a fire after a helicopter crash.
“Being at these Games exceeded my expectations for sure,” said Brunais. “I don’t even know how to put it into words, being in this atmosphere, I could never have pictured how great it would be. Ending the Paralympics like this… to know that 7-a-side footballer is carrying our flag is, well, it’s amazing."
Football 7-a-side is not on the Paralympic program in Tokyo. The sport has been a part of the Games since 1984. After Rio, Brunais the proud father of two daughters, Sadie and Emily, plans to return home to Virginia and pursue his college degree. He also plans to stay with the U.S. team which will continue to compete on the world circuit.
The Closing Ceremony for the Rio 2016 Games will be broadcast on NBCSN on Sunday, September 18th at 10:30 p.m. ET.