Branch of Service: U.S. Army

Hometown: MD

Current Residence: Crestview, FL

Matt is walking in full camouflage with a backpack and gun in handMatthew joined the Army directly out of high school, back in 1998, as a Combat Engineer. He had sat down and spoke with an Army Recruiter and was excited to follow in his father’s, and many other family member’s footsteps, to be involved in military service. Matthew didn’t know what to expect but he remembers asking his father for the best advice he could give. His father stared at him and said, “Don’t get noticed for the wrong reasons.” Matthew never forgot that, and most likely never will.

After basic training, Matthew traveled to many duty stations; Korea, Ft. Benning, Eglin AFB, and Ft. Polk. He met a lot of great people, learned something from each and became a more well-rounded and diverse person. He was doing what he set out to do. In 2003, while stationed at Fort Polk with the 2nd ACR, he received marching orders to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Matthew spent 15 months there and was honorably discharged in August 2004.

Transitioning from Military to Civilian uncertainty was Matthew’s biggest challenge to date. He suffered from anxiety, had trouble sleeping, had anger issues and struggled with drinking. One day, he came to a breaking point and remembered his late Grandmother always saying that he was a gift and that was what his name meant – “Gift of God”.  She used to say, “we must endure, to see what the end will bring.”  With that memory he was able to live with himself again.

Matthew is currently raising his 10 year old daughter, and has a solid support system in his girlfriend, family and great inner circle of friends. He has worked for WellsFargo for 9 years.

Through his Warriors to Summits journey, Matthew hopes to be able to share experiences. He believes that different perspectives help make for more intelligent discussion. He would like to share his story of healing with someone else who may need to hear his story. He believes this summit with his veteran community will show him that he is stronger than he thinks and in turn allow him to tell another veteran in need that they are stronger than they think.

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