PV2 (Ret.) Matt Leyva, USA
Born in Tucson, Arizona, Matt grew up in Upstate New York. He loves the outdoors-fishing, swimming, and doing other water sports- but his passion is drawing. Following his dad’s service in the Air Force, Matt decided to join the military to serve his country. He, also, had a grandfather, great uncles, great grandmother and great grandfather who served in various branches from WWII to Vietnam.
Matt was stationed in Kandahar, Afghanistan and went out on patrol missions as an infantryman. After being home for a few months on R&R, Matt headed back to Afghanistan on July 11, 2012. Days later on the evening of August 9th, they were on a dismount patrol. Walking out the gate is the last thing he remembers. He later learned from the report he had stepped on a pressure-plated IED causing him to lose both legs above the knee, both ring fingers, and both pinkies. There is extensive soft tissue damage to his left arm, which led the doctors to take the bone, as well.
All of his original major surgeries were done in Bastion, Afghanistan before being moved to Bagram, where he went through many more surgeries and blood transfusions. Even after stabilizing and moving to Landstuhl, Germany, he was still very unstable and feared he would not make it. They flew his family to Germany and the following day stabilized well enough to fly to San Antonio where he has been since.
Matt has been married for three years and his wife decided not to start medical school to be his fulltime caregiver. Matt, as many of our wounded at this point in their journey, is worried about their future and how he will support his family. His wife and his family have been by his side encouraging him, making him smile, and giving him a positive outlook through his rehabilitation journey.
They are considering either San Antonio or Cicero, NY to start their family when the time is right. He has set a goal to go to school and become a police officer. He, also, looks forward to the day of their new normal lifestyle as a civilian.