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Brendan McDonough

Granite Mountain Hotshot, Subject of the Film "Only the Brave," Mental Health & Recovery Advocate

Granite Mountain Hotshot, Subject of the Film "Only the Brave," Mental Health & Recovery Advocate

Travels From Travels From:
Prescott, AZ, USA
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Brendan McDonough Biography

Brendan McDonough’s journey has been nothing short of extraordinary. A heroin addict with a daughter on the way, McDonough was facing a bleak future. After recovering from that addiction, he was given a chance to completely change his life and serve a higher purpose as a member of an elite squad of firefighters. Through painstaking work, unshakeable faith, and devotion to his new family, McDonough became an invaluable member of the “Granite Mountain Hotshots.”

After surviving the Yarnell Hill Wildfire and an unfathomable loss of 19 of his fellow firefighters in 2013, McDonough suffered from bouts of deep depression and intractable Post-Traumatic Stress. But the family who needed him, his faith in God, and the memory of his brothers’ sacrifice inspired him to keep living through his darkest moments and pushed him to begin helping others. McDonough’s story of struggle and redemption leaves audiences uplifted, encouraging them to become their best selves and to seek out support when struggling.

McDonough was on the verge of becoming a hopeless, inveterate heroin addict when he, for the sake of his young daughter, decided to turn his life around. He enlisted in the Granite Mountain Hotshots, a team of elite firefighters based in Prescott, Arizona. Their superintendent, Eric Marsh, was in a desperate crunch after four hotshots left the crew, and seeing a glimmer of promise in the skinny would-be recruit, he took a chance on the unlikely McDonough. Despite the crew’s skepticism, and thanks in large part to Marsh’s firm but loving encouragement, McDonough unlocked a latent drive and dedication, going on to successfully battle a number of blazes and eventually win the confidence of the men he came to call his brothers.

Then, on June 30, 2013, while McDonough–“Donut” as he’d been dubbed by his team–served as lookout, they confronted a freak, 3,000-degree inferno in nearby Yarnell, Arizona. The relentless firestorm ultimately trapped his hotshot brothers, tragically killing all 19 of them within minutes. Nationwide, it was the greatest loss of firefighter lives since the 9/11 attacks.

The story of the Granite Mountain Hotshots came to the silver screen with the release of Only the Brave in October 2017. The film, directed by Joseph Kosinski, stars Josh Brolin, Jeff Bridges, Taylor Kitsch, and Jennifer Connelly. McDonough was portrayed by Miles Teller.

Today, McDonough continues to live in Prescott, Arizona with his daughters and fiancé.

Brendan McDonough Speaking Topics

  • Know Your Why: Finding Purpose in a Chaotic World

  • Faith: The Guiding Principle

  • Recovery: My Journey to Sobriety in a Time of Epidemic

  • Who Stands Beside You: The Untold Story of My Lost Brothers

Brendan McDonough Videos

  • Brendan McDonough, Cast & Director of "Only The Brave" Speak On ...
    Through hope, determination, sacrifice and the drive to protect families and communities, the Granite Mountain Hotshots become one of the ...
  • Lone Arizona Hotshot Survivor Recounts Tragic Fire - YouTube
    Brendan McDonough lost 19 friends in the Yarnell Hill fire and asks why he was spared.
  • 'Hotshot' Firefighter Wildfire Survivor Brendan McDonough Interview ...
    Brendan McDonough opens up about the day 19 members of his firefighting team died. For more on this story, click here: ...

Brendan McDonough Books

  • Granite Mountain: The Firsthand Account of a Tragic Wildfire, Its Lone Survivor, and the Firefighters Who Made the Ultimate Sacrifice
    Granite Mountain: The Firsthand Account of a Tragic Wildfire, Its Lone Survivor, and the Firefighters Who Made the Ultimate Sacrifice

Speaker Lists Featuring Brendan McDonough

FAQs on booking Brendan McDonough

  • How do I book Brendan McDonough to speak at my event?

    Our experienced booking agents have successfully helped clients around the world secure speakers like Brendan McDonough for speaking engagements, personal appearances, product endorsements, or corporate entertainment since 2002. Click the Check Availability button above and complete the form on this page to check availability for Brendan McDonough, or call our office at 1.800.698.2536 to discuss your upcoming event. One of our experienced agents will be happy to help you get speaking fee information and check availability for Brendan McDonough or any other speaker of your choice.
  • What are the speaker fees for Brendan McDonough

    Speaking fees for Brendan McDonough, or any other speakers and celebrities, are determined based on a number of factors and may change without notice. The estimated fees to book Brendan McDonough are for live events and for virtual events. For the most current speaking fee to hire Brendan McDonough, click the Check Availability button above and complete the form on this page, or call our office at 1.800.698.2536 to speak directly with an experienced booking agent.
  • What topics does Brendan McDonough speak about?

    Brendan McDonough is a keynote speaker and industry expert whose speaking topics include Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, Authors, Christian Speakers, Faith & Religion, Health, Mental Health, Virtual Speakers.
  • Where does Brendan McDonough travel from?

    Brendan McDonough generally travels from Prescott, AZ, USA, but can be booked for private corporate events, personal appearances, keynote speeches, or other performances. For more details, please contact an AAE Booking agent.
  • Who is Brendan McDonough’s agent?

    AAE Speakers Bureau has successfully booked keynote speakers like Brendan McDonough for clients worldwide since 2002. As a full-service speaker booking agency, we have access to virtually any speaker or celebrity in the world. Our agents are happy and able to submit an offer to the speaker or celebrity of your choice, letting you benefit from our reputation and long-standing relationships in the industry. Please click the Check Availability button above and complete the form on this page including the details of your event, or call our office at 1.800.698.2536, and one of our agents will assist you to book Brendan McDonough for your next private or corporate function.
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    If you’re looking for the best, unbiased speaker recommendations, paired with a top-notch customer service experience, you’re in the right place. At AAE Speakers Bureau, we exclusively represent the interests of our clients - professional organizations, companies, universities, and associations. We intentionally do not represent the speakers we feature or book. That is so we can present our clients with the broadest and best performing set of speaker options in the market today, and we can make these recommendations without any obligation to promote a specific speaker over another. This is why when our agents suggest a speaker for your event, you can be assured that they are of the highest quality with a history of proven success with our other clients.

Brendan McDonough is a keynote speaker and industry expert who speaks on a wide range of topics such as Know Your Why: Finding Purpose in a Chaotic World, Faith: The Guiding Principle, Recovery: My Journey to Sobriety in a Time of Epidemic and Who Stands Beside You: The Untold Story of My Lost Brothers. The estimated speaking fee range to book Brendan McDonough for your event is $10,000 - $20,000. Brendan McDonough generally travels from Prescott, AZ, USA and can be booked for (private) corporate events, personal appearances, keynote speeches, or other performances. Similar motivational celebrity speakers are Darryl Strawberry, Tony Hoffman, Eric LeMarque, Dan Schneider and Thomas Henderson. Contact All American Speakers for ratings, reviews, videos and information on scheduling Brendan McDonough for an upcoming live or virtual event.

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