Firefighter Paramedic Bradley Pierce died in the line of duty on August 6, 2000 while training for the St. Charles Fire Department’s health and wellness program. He left behind is expectant wife, Deanna, and his 19-month old son, Wyatt, who is now a young adult. Wyatt shares his experience in his studies at the University of Houston, how he reflects his father’s character and what he plans on achieving next.
Wyatt has earned a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting and graduated Cum Laude from the University of Houston. Additionally, he is a graduate of the Bauer Honors Program of the UH Honors College and the Professional Proficiency in Accountancy Program. Both accelerated programs require advanced coursework, colloquiums and high GPAs. Wyatt managed to tackle 15 hours of course work each semester and work 20 hours per week. It is evident that dedication and hard work were key players in the successes of Wyatt’s academic career.
Preparing for a world post college is one of the life lessons Wyatt gained during his time at college, “UH is high pressure with the mantra from faculty that ‘there is no job fairy who comes when you put your diploma under your pillow.’ They drove us to join professional organizations to network as students, and to work part-time in the field we were studying. The experiences of developing real-world deliverables without step-by-step instructions were great for decision making skills.”
Wyatt was presented with the opportunity to develop critical thinking and communication skills while learning from others. “I learned so much about how to think analytically, communicate, forecast and find the opportunities where you have sustainable value. The Bauer Honors Program has a wonderful cohort and brilliant faculty; I learned from students and professors alike.” Gaining skills and knowledge did not come as a light endeavor but was achieved with motivation and discipline. “I really value my time at UH and would not trade all the long nights for anything”.
Wyatt’s ambitious demeaner and go-getter attitude are ways that he honors his father’s legacy. “I remember my father by employing his energy and spirit. Everyone who knew him described him as someone who embraced challenges in full stride. He always found the strength and did the work he had to do to be successful. His determination is something I try to live up to when I am faced with my own challenges. When I’m searching for a scarce opportunity I need, I remember him to push forward and be someone who can be counted on to make it happen”.
Firefighter Paramedic Pierce dedicated his life to helping others. Wyatt has plans to follow a similar path of serving. “My father loved to help people and made sure to do work he could find pride in. I honor him by having the same requirements for my career.” With an accounting degree in hand, Wyatt has taken an interest in utilizing his skills in the healthcare industry. “This summer, I worked with an Ochsner Health Systems Controller. I experienced firsthand the sense of helping people that comes from working in healthcare organizations. This way, I can use my accounting degree to help people and do work I can take pride in.”
Wyatt is currently attending graduate school at Tulane University, and has plans to advance his set of skills in the accounting field. Improving the world of accounting in the healthcare industry is a goal that Wyatt is taking the steps towards achieving. “My goal after graduate school is to pass the CPA exam and pursue public accounting, where I can find other ways to help people. As accounting continues to evolve, the field of healthcare provides considerable synergy and room for innovation. My long term career ambition is to work towards improving patient access to care by delivering reliable information on their specific costs prior to care. There is so much room for improvement in medical billing. Public accounting will be the perfect place to start my career and give me the experience and background I need to take on these problems.”
The BackStoppers is committed to ensuring that children of fallen heroes have an opportunity to pursue their educational goals without financial burden. We consider it an honor to provide educational assistance, and to see the achievements of students like Wyatt. “BackStoppers prevents children and families from slipping through the cracks in the difficult years after the tragic loss of a first responder. Nineteen years later, long after the story is out of the news, BackStoppers is still here making sure my sister and I have access to higher education. BackStoppers was there for my mom in the beginning, and they are still standing by our family now”.