With the use of his prosthetics, Matthew has competed in numerous Spartans Races, marathons, half marathons, a 50 miler down the coast of Florida, and he even completed 10 miles of the Bataan Death March — a march through high desert terrain to honor the heroic service members who defended the Philippine Islands during World War II. Matthew also surfs, has skydived, and climbed 7,000 feet of Mt. Rainier, all because he refused to let his injuries define him after being critically wounded by an improvised explosive device (IED) while on deployment in Iraq.
“I was not supposed to live but I did. The Lord placed me on a new mission, and it is my lasting objective to pursue this assignment, which is to live a life of inspiration, a life of motivation, and leave an impression on everyone I interact with,” said Matthew.
After Matthew sustained loss of vision and the traumatic amputation of both of his legs in the IED blast in 2007, he returned to the States for further treatment but was kept in a medically induced coma for three weeks due to the severity of his wounds. It was during this time that Semper Fi & America’s Fund provided bedside support for Matthew’s family to make certain all their needs were met throughout Matthew’s healing process. When Matthew returned home, The Fund paid for home modifications, including redoing his entire bathroom, to ensure his safety and comfort as a visually impaired double amputee.
“Semper Fi & America’s Fund is like an extended Marine Corps family. Support is just a phone call away, and I’ve made lifelong friendships,” he said. “They understand the importance of camaraderie at all times even when you no longer wear the uniform.”
Now medically retired, Matthew is an active member of Team Semper Fi and loves to golf, workout, hunt, fish, and participate in marathons, including the 2022 Marine Corps Marathon on October 30th. A light in the veteran community, Matthew continues to share his incredible story at speaking engagements all around the country and also does veterans’ outreach, supporting his fellow veterans by helping meet any needs.
“I believe in serving others as a way of giving back for those that served me while in recovery and not forgetting our veterans who have sacrificed so much for our country,” he said.
Having never lost the will to live, Matthew has defied all the odds and now leads by example, encouraging everyone he meets to look for opportunities to grow stronger by overcoming hardship. His future goals include earning his master’s degree and climbing to the very top of a mountain — an amazing accomplishment that he hopes will inspire even more individuals to pursue every goal, no matter the obstacles or challenges.
“Over the years, I’ve been inspired to share my story to motivate others through their own life challenges with my message of Just Walk,” said Matthew. “Even without Legs and Vision, you can still have No Problems.”