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Sunday, December 19, 2010


So yesterday on the 18th I drove down to Tampa to see my son Ben and have an early christmas with him and so I can meet with the two event managers at the Spec Ops Warrior Foundation on Monday morning. When I arrived in Tampa his mom and Ben were eating at an IHOP so I met them there. As I was walking up to the door Ben spotted me and from outside the store I could hear him scream "DADDY!!" and all I saw was the top of his head through the glass windows as he tore across the store for the front door. HAHAHA...... At that point the whole store became interested in finding out who Ben's dad was so, as I walked in it was all eyes on me. That was definitely an awesome way to be welcomed.  Later that evening his mom Raquel and I took him to see the Christmas lights in St Pete. There is a man that lives in St. Pete that turns his house into a winter wonderland of sorts. He has created a walk through tour of his creation which exhibits everything from a video of christian preacher Charles Stanley giving the way of salvation to singing snowmen and even a sort of river in the middle of it all. The owner said it takes approximately 3 months to fully set it up and it costs around 4,500 a month to run the electricity. WOW!

Today on the 19th Ben and I walked around the mall for about 2 hours or should I say that Ben led me around the mall as I chased him HAHA. At one point Ben and I went outside the mall and stopped in a frozen yogurt shop. Ben wanted chocolate yogurt with sprinkles and m&m's so we bought that and sat outside to eat it. As we were eating our frozen goodness I looked over to see a young man between 18-24 in a wheelchair. I noticed that he was drooling onto a towel that was laying across his left chest and shoulder. I also noticed that he was wearing a hat and on the hat it said "Purple Heart." I realized he was a veteran and had suffered severe injuries from the war. I sat there for a moment and watched him. He had a femle attendant with him that was caring for him and holding his hand. About this time Ben's mom walked up and I pointed out the injured Warrior. She mentioned that I should go talk to his attendant instead of staring, which i finally did. I walked up to his attendant and introduced my self as a veteran combat medic and I also gave her my name. I asked for their names and she introduced them as Josh and Julie. I then asked if she would tell me what happened and who he was.....she said......
Josh was her brother and he was on a foot patrol in an undisclosed part of Afghanistan. While on this foot patrol an insurgent fired an RPG at him which blew up near him. He was struck by shrapnel which imbedded itself in his brain and spine. He was flown to Germany after the attack where they ended up taking part of his skull. He also suffered thru 3 strokes as well. I squatted down to look him in the eyes and noticed there was a look of distance. He didn't seem to be there. I was immediately saddened by this. I felt for his family and for him. This Warrior came so very close to giving his life for his Country, for people he does not know both here in the US and in another country that is so far from the friends and family that love him. Julie said that it will be at least 2 years before they can really know what his future will be. According to the doctors it will take that long to bring him to a physically stable place. As I walked back to my son I stored his face to memory. His face will push me on this walk that is before me. He will be a constant reminder of why I am doing what I do and who I am doing it for. This walk is for all the Josh's.


  1. Wow, that made me cry. I'm sure God had Josh and Julie at that specific time and place so you would continue to have a heart for those who could benefit from your trek.

  2. Amazing story Matt! Very touching. I think it is awesome that you're doing this! Thank you for continuing to serve our country!

  3. @Mom-It would seem so. I certainly benefited from it in many ways.

    @Jennifer-Thank you for your support! Please spread the word!