DFSI Principal, Shawn Hibbard, is a man who has consistently defied the odds. He has seen the worst of life, but has used each trial to come back stronger. Despite the physical and emotional aftermath of his wounds, Hibbard has excelled in his personal and professional life.
Hibbard overcame many challenges as a child. A born leader and protector, 3-year-old Hibbard led his older brothers away from an abusive situation, and into the arms of the authorities and ultimately the Virginia foster system. His situation was so extreme, that his actions likely saved his life, and that of his brothers. Nonetheless, the same strength and innate independence that gave Hibbard the courage to take action, also worked to his disadvantage. Because of his strong influence on them, Hibbard was separated from his two brothers and found himself in and out of abusive homes. His childhood was difficult and unstable. It would have left others understandably broken. However, he was destined for greater things.
At 17 years old, Hibbard joined the army. He completed 2 tours in Afghanistan equaling 30 months. During that time he was often immersed in direct combat. He developed strong expertise in tactical warfare, even as he mastered his role as a sniper and Counter IED operations.
On May 22, 2009, Hibbard was in Afghanistan. He was working alongside an IED team and British forces, engaged in a 16-kilometer route clearance in Nadi ali. Without warning, the team was ambushed with heavy fire on both sides. Hibbard responded instinctively. Securing his sniper rifle, he climbed on top of an all terrain vehicle and provided cover fire for his men until he depleted his ammunition. During a lull in the fighting, the team decided to proceed forward. Hibbard’s vehicle unknowingly ran over an IED without detonating it, but the subsequent vehicle was not so fortunate. As the IED exploded, the turret gunner was thrown from the vehicle and incurred a massive head wound. Hibbard ignored the instinct to run to the aid of the wounded man. Instead, he grabbed a metal detector and swiftly cleared a path before beginning the arduous task of suctioning blood and bone from the turret gunner’s airway. Hibbard coordinated the medevac out and proceeded with his mission. Because of his actions, Hibbard was awarded the Bronze Star with Valor.
Hibbard did not return from his tours unscathed. In addition to PTSD, he suffered multiple events of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and a leg injury. In 2012, Hibbard was featured as a case study for the following report on TBI.
CLICK HERE – Traumatic Brain Injury Recon Report
Even as Hibbard exceled in his military career, he had a drive to help children and the community at large. In 2010, he was at a charity golf event for a local school, when an unusual opportunity came his way. Hibbard found himself paired up with some former Washington Redskins, who commented on his stature and aptitude for pro football. Even though he was 32, and hadn’t played since high school, Hibbard decided to pursue their suggestion. Through his characteristic strong will and determination, Hibbard found himself a tight end on the Richmond Revolutions, an indoor football league, where he played until an ACL tear ended his pro career. Read more about it in the articles below.
CLICK HERE – American Hero Moonlighting
CLICK HERE – Role Models
In 2013, Hibbard also founded Legacy Christian Academy, a private school for K-3 through 12th grade. After recruiting a 9-member board and securing administrators, he led the team to fund-raise and purchase an ideal location in Stephens City, VA. All volunteers, the group has met since November, 2013 and opened the school in August, 2014. Read more about this amazing accomplishment here: www.LegacyChristian-Academy.com.