We know firsthand that keeping a positive outlook despite challenging situations can make all the difference in someone’s recovery. That rings true for Marine Corps veteran Matt Bradford, whose sense of humor never wavered despite his injuries. ​

We met Matt and his mom, Debbie, at the Brooke Army Medical Center (BAMC) in San Antonio, where he was recovering after losing both legs and his eyesight in an explosion in Iraq. Due to his injuries’ severity, his mom relocated to Texas to be with him throughout his recovery. ​

When he was in recovery, HOPE coordinated many events at BAMC to help improve the morale of the service members living there, which is how he became a part of our family. While at BAMC, Matt set his mind on participating in the Marine Corps Marathon. To help make this dream a reality, we provided him with the adaptive equipment he needed and set him up with a team of handcyclists to race with him. ​

After recovery, Matt reenlisted in the Marines and was promoted, transferring to Wounded Warrior Battalion East. His mom traveled with him for support. As Matt became more independent, we gave his mom Debbie a job at our office on base, giving her a purpose of continuing to help service members in need. ​

Since then, Matt has continued to compete in marathons and graduated from the University of Kentucky. Today, he is thriving and living in Kentucky with his family, continuing to inspire others with his perseverance and never losing that sense of humor.