BACH Public Affairs
Fort Campbell, KY – Troops from Blanchfield Army Community Hospital’s Warrior Transition Battalion packed Fort Campbell’s Wilson Theater August 19th, for a healthy dose of inspiration from one of the unlikeliest motivational speakers.
While serving in Iraq in 2007, Cpl. Matthew Bradford was severely injured by an improvised explosive device, which took his eyesight and both legs. He became the first blind, double amputee in Marine history to be allowed to reenlist. Now a medically retired marine, he recounted his ordeal and road to recovery for a captivated audience.His mantra as he moves on successfully through college at the University of Kentucky with the support of a loving wife and three kids is: “No eyes, no legs, no problems.”
Bradford, accompanied by his wife, Amanda, reflected on how his physical therapist at Brooke Army Medical Center helped him with the simple words “I won’t let you fall,” as he first learned to walk on his prosthetic legs. He attributes much of his healing to the positive energy provided by the Brooke Army Medical Center “Center for Intrepid” physical therapist who helped him learn to walk again, along with the support of his family.
Brig. Gen. Scott Brower, acting Senior Mission Commander for the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) and Fort Campbell, as well as a good friend of Cpl. Bradford, invited Bradford to speak to Fort Campbell’s WTB.
“Matt is the epitome of what it means to be resilient. He just doesn’t understand what it means to quit. He is a huge inspiration to so many, myself included,” Brower said.
Bradford continues to give back to other service members who may be struggling with wounds, illnesses or injuries.
“He motivates others who are serving now or served in the past helping them through their own struggles of emotional, physical injuries or illnesses,” said Brower.
Bradford told the Soldiers, “If I can do it, you can.”
He backed up those words, demonstrating that he doesn’t let obstacles stand in his way, by competing in the Spartan Race at Fort Campbell the following day.
“Seeing how Cpl. Bradford has overcome these huge obstacles of learning to walk and not being able to see and still keep the ‘I can do it’ attitude is something great for everyone to hear, especially the Soldiers we have the privilege of serving at Fort Campbell,” said WTB’s Command Sgt. Maj. Staci Rea.
Bradford encouraged both the Soldiers and leaders to get troops out and involved in competitions and adaptive sports. Bradford said he enjoys finding his next challenge whether it is competing in marathons, the Spartan Race, skydiving, or other events.
After Bradford spoke, mayors of Clarksville and Hopkinsville, Clarskville Mayor Kim McMillan and Mayor Carter Hendricks, presented a proclamation to Bradford, making August 19th, Matthew Bradford Day. Although Bradford couldn’t see the standing ovation, he could certainly hear the seats rumbling as Soldiers and other audience members stood, thanking him for sharing his inspirational story.
A long line formed to shake Bradford’s hand and for Soldiers to share their appreciation for his encouragement and admiration for him not giving up despite his injuries.
Bradford competed in the Spartan Race August 20th, before returning to his home in Lexington, Kentucky.