A soldier's story - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

A soldier's story

Posted: Updated:

As we celebrate Veteran's Day we have an update to a story we first brought you 8 years ago. It's a story of courage, love and sheer determination. In 2004 Army soldier and Sylvania native Matthew Drake was critically injured when a bomb exploded in Iraq. 13abc's Lissa Guyton has been covering his remarkable recovery for years, and she spent time with him today before he spoke to students at a Sylvania Junior High School.

Lissa says it is amazing to see how much progress he's made since the last time she spoke with him. From the very beginning, Matthew's dogged determination has proved doctors and textbooks wrong.

He has a quick wit, an infectious smile and his story should make you proud to be an American, "No one comes home without scars both inside and out."

Matthew's world changed on October 15, 2004. He was driving an armored humvee that was attacked by a suicide bomber. He suffered a traumatic brain injury and the four other soldiers riding with him were killed, "Recovery from my wounds has been the toughest battle of my life. I was trained to be tough and I'm not about to quit."

Matthew spent several weeks in a coma. At first doctors didn't know if he'd live, let alone walk and talk again. Our cameras were with him in 2005 as he was going through his painful recovery at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington D-C. We also went to Omaha, Nebraska in 2007 as Matthew went through what's called post acute rehabilitation. His mother Lisa Schuster says the center taught her son to really live again,"There's surviving and then there's living and at first I thought my son had just survived, but now I know he's going to live, really live and be happy and I thought we'd lost that."

It's hard for most of us to imagine the painful and often difficult road he's traveled in the years since then but today he has two part time jobs and lives in the Ann Arbor area, "I am here, I'm doing a lot better and it feels great."

He speaks to groups about his experience and he's never lost his infectious smile and optimism,"Sometimes it's hard not to be able to do what I used to do and sometimes it's hard to admit that I have to ask for help but it's just the way it is."

As Matthew speaks to people about his life he says his most important message is to encourage all of us to never forget all of those who serve,"God bless America and God bless you."

Matt and his mom Lisa just came back from "The Stand up for Heroes" event in New York City.

They say it was an amazing experience to not only meet all kinds of famous people but to spend time with others who are going through the same things Matthew has been through. All of us at 13abc thank Matthew and all those who serve.

@

  • LocalMore>>

  • 3 killed in Fulton County crash

    3 killed in Fulton County crash

    Friday, July 25 2014 7:45 AM EDT2014-07-25 11:45:39 GMT
    Three people are dead after a crash between a semi and a car in Fulton County Thursday evening. It happened around 5:30 p.m. at the intersection of County Road l and State Route 109. Troopers say the semi was headed northbound on State Route 109, when the car ran through a stop sign. Witnesses tell 13abc the semi actually drove over the top of the car. The three people inside were all killed. The semi driver was not injured.
    Three people are dead after a crash between a semi and a car in Fulton County Thursday evening. It happened around 5:30 p.m. at the intersection of County Road l and State Route 109. Troopers say the semi was headed northbound on State Route 109, when the car ran through a stop sign. Witnesses tell 13abc the semi actually drove over the top of the car. The three people inside were all killed. The semi driver was not injured.
  • 5-foot gator found in creek along Roachton Rd.

    5-foot gator found in creek along Roachton Rd.

    A mother and daughter bike ride for ice cream turned into a close encounter of the "alligator kind." The pair spotted a 5-foot gator in a creek along Roachton Road. But that's not the really weird part of the story.
  • Muddy the Mudhen up for Best Minor League Mascot

    Muddy the Mudhen up for Best Minor League Mascot

    Thursday, July 24 2014 10:51 PM EDT2014-07-25 02:51:36 GMT
    It's your chance to show your Toledo Mud Hens pride! You can help make Muddy the Mudhen the top mascot in the minor league. He's facing off against 13 other mascots. You can pick your favorite in the league round until August 4, then in the championship round until August 11. Click here to vote, and you can keep voting as many times as you like.
    It's your chance to show your Toledo Mud Hens pride! You can help make Muddy the Mudhen the top mascot in the minor league. He's facing off against 13 other mascots. You can pick your favorite in the league round until August 4, then in the championship round until August 11. Click here to vote, and you can keep voting as many times as you like.
  • Top StoriesMore>>

  • Man dies in overnight ATV accident

    Man dies in overnight ATV accident

    Friday, July 25 2014 7:21 AM EDT2014-07-25 11:21:42 GMT
    The Putnam County Sheriff's office has confirmed that a Putnam County man died after an accident on his ATV.The accident occurred at 2:20 a.m. Friday in a field west of road 23-L in the 12-thousand block of Cloverdale.
    The Putnam County Sheriff's office has confirmed that a Putnam County man died after an accident on his ATV.The accident occurred at 2:20 a.m. Friday in a field west of road 23-L in the 12-thousand block of Cloverdale.
  • Judge: Detroit mob beating sentences will stand

    Judge: Detroit mob beating sentences will stand

    Prosecutors are returning to court to ask a judge to reconsider the sentences for two men who participated in a mob attack on a Detroit-area motorist in April.
    A judge is sticking to light sentences for two men who participated in a mob attack on a Detroit-area motorist in April.
  • Ohio testing mosquitoes for West Nile virus

    Ohio testing mosquitoes for West Nile virus

    Friday, July 25 2014 9:04 AM EDT2014-07-25 13:04:41 GMT
    COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - The state of Ohio is again testing mosquitoes for West Nile virus after the program became a victim of federal budget cuts last year.
    COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - The state of Ohio is again testing mosquitoes for West Nile virus after the program became a victim of federal budget cuts last year.

Area Events Calendar

See It, Shoot It, Send It!