Faces in The Crowd – Making an Impression

Posted on July 4, 2019 under Faces in the Crowd with one comment

 

“I’m happy to be a good dad and a good husband. I am content that I have been able to create a comfortable and rewarding life for me my family.”

Meet Sean Brophy.

Sean was born in Stellarton and has one sibling, a younger brother. His parents separated when he was 12 years old. “This was very hard on me. I found it very tough to navigate.” His father, a nurse, relocated to Houston, Texas and Sean ended up moving with him. Going from Stellarton to downtown Houston was another traumatizing experience for a small town boy. After one year, his father moved to Huntsviille, Texas.

His high school years were filled with sports, drama, plays and art. He didn’t find the academics challenging and so, on the cusp of finishing high school, he fast tracked and received his GED.

Using a fake ID, he got his first tattoo. At the time, tattoos were taboo and anyone having one was considered a bit of a rebel. His soccer coaches commented that he wouldn’t amount to anything. His dad wasn’t happy either despite that fact that HE had a tattoo himself!

After completing his schooling, it was time to head back to Canada as he could no longer remain in the U.S. A 66 hour bus ride from Texas took him into the bowels of the central bus station in downtown New York where, for three nerve wracking hours, he hung out with the freakiest people he had ever met. When his bus for Bar Harbor arrived, they all got on the bus with him.

“I had no idea what I was coming home to.” He spent a summer with an uncle picking strawberries and decided that he needed to pursue a career.

An earlier experience in Houston may have foreshadowed his career path. He volunteered to work for two weeks on an ambulance. On his very first shift, we witnessed and help perform CPR on a man who subsequently died of a stab wound that he received while in prison.

He eventually earned a certificate from Holland College and became a paramedic. Sean describes his career as intense. Besides full time work in his chosen field, he was also involved in the union, the volunteer fire department and search and rescue.

He got married in 2000 and has two children.

“I loved my work and felt that I was serving my community. I had a sense of self- worth.” But that all changed as witnessing trauma for so many years resulted in post- traumatic stress disorder or PTSD.  ”I was in a very dark place.” He was forced to stop working and was unable to work at anything for two years while getting treatment.  He spent the better part of six months in his bedroom.

He always viewed himself as “Sean the paramedic.” He wasn’t educated for another occupation but he realized that returning to his chosen profession was not an option. “Who am I going to be now,” became the pressing question. While waiting to receive Worker’s Compensation, the family lost their home and life savings trying to stay afloat.

Over the years, he had been getting more tattoos and he started doing artwork for tattooists. His good friend and renowned tattoo artist, Jamie MacKay invited Sean to apprentice with him. A year and a half later, Sean struck out on his own and he has never looked back.

He still deals with PTSD every day of his life. He started doing jiu jitsu four years ago which has helped him immensely.

His greatest joy these days is his family. “We sit down and have dinner together every evening. It is a chance to stay connected.”

Sean continues to leave his mark as a gifted artist and tattooist. His has left a lasting impression on many people in North Eastern Nova Scotia (including the author!)  but none more so than his wife ,Tanya and his children, Morgan and Erika.

 

 

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The Macdonald Notebook: Business & Politics in Atlantic Canada
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Comments

One Response to Faces in The Crowd – Making an Impression

  1. Brenda Rose says:

    I somehow missed this chapter when it was first posted. Thank you for referencing it in today’s blog entry. I’m glad to have ‘met’ Sean.

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