PA graduate who helped save a police officer’s life still serves

Kamper and Pearce

Brandi Kamper didn’t give it a second thought when she heard on her radio that a fellow officer had been shot. In 2016, the former Army combat medic was a tactical medic for the Fort Worth Police Department. She and every other uniformed officer in the area rushed to the scene where Officer Matt Pearce suffered seven gunshots from two assailants he’d been chasing in West Fort Worth.

When Kamper and other officers arrived, they couldn’t find their fallen brethren. Despite the lurking danger of gunmen who had already shot a cop, Kamper and others yelled out for Pearce. When they found him, Kamper and Officer Jason Ricks, a former marine, set their fear aside and went about the business of treating him. Thanks to a series of perfectly aligned events and multiple heroes, Pearce eventually returned to duty. He was a guest at Kamper’s recent wedding.

Later this month, Kamper will be reaching another milestone: She’ll be graduating with her Master of Physician Assistant Studies from The University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth’s Physician Assistant Program.

“I had a very small part in it,” Kamper said of the effort to save Pearce’s life. “The surgeons, the care flight people, the people who were out there before me … there’s so many things that God makes happen and then people just don’t realize it’s a miracle. I don’t have super skills. At the time, I was an EMT basic. I was a combat medic in the Army, but I had never treated someone with nine holes in them. But for the grace of God that he lived.”

Kamper isn’t your traditional PA student. She’s a 42-year-old mother of two, with an abundance of life experience. The common thread in all her career choices is service. It runs in her blood — her mother is a retired deputy chief for FWPD. She served 11 years in the U.S. Army and 15 in FWPD. PA school, she said, was a continuation of that spirit of putting others first.

“Every step of the way I pray about it, and I ponder it, and talk with family,” Kamper said. “How can I take this to the next level? I’m really a fan of trying to challenge myself continually and trying to up the ante of my service. And so that’s what led me to PA. I think when you have a servant’s heart, truly that prepares you for any type of medicine.”

Kamper has already landed a job as a pediatric trauma surgery PA at a local hospital, a role she’s uniquely prepared to take on.

“Brandi Kamper was an inspiration to all of us,” said PA Lauren Dobbs, chair of the School of Health Professions’ Physician Assistant Studies department. “She was motivational for her classmates and cheered them along the entire way through their academic journey. She was respectful to all and worked well with students and faculty alike to achieve her goals. PA Kamper’s professional and educational journey has prepared her every step of the way for her incredible new pediatric trauma surgery position.”

After her experience with Pearce, she was lavished with media attention, and named among the Great Women of Texas by the Fort Worth Business Press.

Even as she spoke with reporters and community members, she did so for unselfish reasons.

Kamperbanquet“I hope that I have been able to be a good steward and representative of police officers,” she said. “We get very bad press for a very good reason out of some of the incidents that have come out. My sincere hope is that I always tell people that there were miracles that happened that day — that God saved his life. I was very fortunate to get a frontrow seat to see an actual miracle.

“Secondly, I very sincerely hope that people have been able to see even just one good example of a police officer because 99.9% of police officers are like me: They’re just moms and daughters and sons out there trying to do the best they can,” she continued. “I’m willing to put myself out there if I can make just a small ripple in that relationship in a positive manner between police and the public.”

Despite being under the spotlight for a time, she’s quick to credit others. During her time at HSC, she took on a den mother role for class.

“I would not have made it through PA school without the help of people who studied with me, taught me, guided me, encouraged me,” she said. “I know it without a shadow of the doubt that I could not do this on my own. This is not an individual sport, PA school and medical school. You either find a team or you’re done. I will definitely stay in touch with several of my instructors and my friends that I’ve made along the way. They’re like family now.”

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