This guy is amazing. Ian and I met him at a coffee shop in town a while back. He came up to Ian and just asked him about his legs. Why he’d picked those, what he liked about them, etc. We thought he was a newbie amputee and we might be helping him. Come to find out, HE was the pro and was able to shed some light for Ian.
Matthew’s story is amazing. I thought about rewriting his story, but decided against it. I’ll let him tell you the story. You can read all about him below. In his own words. 🙂
He truly is a REAL LIFE HERO!
“My name is Matthew Melancon, retired Sergeant. I am a motivational speaker and a double amputee. At the age of 18 I joined the Army and served in Northern Iraq from 2009-10 as a Scout/Sniper with the 1st Infantry Division out of Ft. Riley, Kansas. After being stationed in Grafenwoier, Germany, with the 172nd, I got deployed to the Paktika Province in Afghanistan as Machine Gun Team leader. While on a routine patrol in Afghanistan on September 18, 2011, the MRAP I was riding in was hit by an IED; both of my feet were shattered and ankles dislocated. My injuries required two-dozen surgeries over a two-year period, and resulted in my electing to amputate both legs below the knee. I have been honored with awards for my service, including the Combat Infantryman’s Badge and the Purple Heart.”
On September 18, 2015, Unstoppable Hero, Wounded in Combat Veteran Matt Melancon, penned these words, “Tomorrow (September 18, 2015) is a very special day for me. Tomorrow will be my 4th anniversary of my “bad day at the office.” But that is not what this post is about… Today marks another special day only two years ago. Two years ago today I was sitting alone in an empty apartment. I was less than a month from my first amputation and almost 300lbs. As a result of my pending divorce I had no money, confidence or hope. My chain of command had been convinced I was abusing my wife and thus threw me my DD21 and said get out. It was on this night two years ago I felt the coil of hopelessness wrap itself around me, making it physically difficult to breath. I held my Sig 226, the one I bought myself for surviving an IED, resting against my temple, and I simply saw no other way out. I was a failed soldier, a failed leader, a failed husband and now a cripple. There simply wasn’t any hope left for me. I de-cocked the hammer, and curled into a ball and cried myself to sleep, I wasn’t going to be reduced to a statistic that day. Two years later I am more complete and whole than I ever dreamt possible. I have seen and done things that they alone would have made a life worth living. Everyone sees the “Extrovert Matt” who has it all going for him. But know, I too have my demons, and that all I have to do is turn and see them waiting for me to fail. But I am here today, the man I am, because of love. Not “Initiaves” or “Awareness”!! Do NOT be so naive as to think throwing money at organizations or “projects” will make this stop! Don’t think because you do push-ups and wear an awkward ring make these suicides stop! All your doing is letting emotions line someone’s pocket! Me being aware of your “awareness” is not the reason I’m here today. The love of the dedicated doctors and nurses and physicians is why. The love of those who stuck by and those who have joined me is why. Don’t be a statistic my brothers and sisters! Don’t become a number! Just keep growing! Don’t ever stop growing. It’s never over until you say it is. I love you all.”
The following day, Matt wrote, “On this day four years ago (September 18, 2015), I climbed into my truck and went out on my last mission as United States Army Infantryman. As we pulled through an intersection the IED detonated and the trucks V-hull design saved our lives. Unfortunately there was supposed to be a $20 rubber matt insulating my feet from the metal floor. It’s absence caused the energy transfer to make my heels explode inside of my feet. When we landed I was saved from a TBI and stayed conscious, but running off adrenaline, I leapt from truck to render aid to my driver. The “impact” with the ground drove my ankles through my feet. Breaking and dislocating them.
I would spend the next two years enduring 22 surgeries as I waited for the docs to put me back together again, and grew more angry and disheartened with each setback. Everything changed when MRSA infected my left foot and I was made an amputee. My success completely depended on me, and the work I was willing to put in! I got invited to an event by “Warfighter Sports” called Ski Spectacular and I would meet Team Utah, and witness everything I could become! Champions who were going to represent our country as amputees. That moment changed everything. I would go on to live a year so intensely, my right foot simply couldn’t keep up, and I would have it amputated and begin my therapy over again just so I could keep pursuing my dreams.
Four years ago I was simply living to check off the list of things you’re “supposed” to do. Today I stand more complete and whole than I ever imagined. I am grateful every single day for that IED and the way it destroyed my world. Two weeks ago I packed up all my stuff in Texas and moved to my home state of Utah, so I can train with those very same people who showed me that anything is possible. I was not a snowboarder, I was not an athlete, I was a boy with a gun and a dream of making the world a better place. Today I am a mentor, counselor, ambassador, and I will do whatever it takes to earn the prestige of being an athlete who wears this country’s colors again!
“What is a seed, but unlimited potential, and possibility. But for it to become anything, it’s shell must crack and its insides spill out, everything about it changes. If you didn’t know what growth was, it would look like complete and utter destruction.”
Thank you everyone for all your support as I faced trial after trial! Thank you for not giving up me, even after all the times I gave up on myself. My life isn’t about proving anyone wrong anymore, it’s about proving all of you right! Thank you, I love you all.”
Matt has been doing amazing things and continues to motivate others all over the country. He is a well-sought after motivational speaker.