BAKERSFIELD — If there’s one thing that Bakersfield’s Samuel Van Kopp is not afraid to discuss it’s a shattering wartime experience that changed his life forever.
“Being blown up is something that happens to you, but there are so many veterans in this county who have done so much more, that have deployed multiple times, who have suffered wounds and who have gone on to serve in the Army, or serve the community here that is what counts,” Van Kopp told Richard Beene during a 45-minute interview on the May 23 episode of “The Richard Beene Show.”
A Bakersfield High graduate, Van Kopp attended the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, NY, graduating in 2010. He soon found himself in Afghanistan, commanding a platoon and in 2012 a suicide bomber’s attack left two men in his platoon dead, and three others, including Van Kopp gravely injured.
Van Kopp said he still has shrapnel in his brain from the attack.
“When they picked up my parents they said ‘hey he’s probably not going to probably walk or talk for a couple of years,” Van Kopp said of his care and recovery. “Within a week I opened my eyes, gave a complete sentence. Two weeks, I was feeling better. Three weeks, I stepped out of the bed.”
Now in law school, Van Kopp is home in Bakersfield as part of an internship with law firm Klein Denatale Goldner.
“My family is here in Bakersfield,” Van Kopp said. “It was a chance to come back and see my home. To see my community.”
Formerly an aide to Rep. Kevin McCarthy, Van Kopp would like to focus on law related to government regulations.
Here’s the full audio of Beene’s interview with Van Kopp: