MARSHALL COUNTY, Ala. – A Union Grove Army veteran received the surprise of a lifetime after dedicating his life to the military and family.
While away on deployment to Afghanistan, he was severely injured by a hidden improvised explosive device (IED).
Matthew Akin is looking sporty in a shiny brand new red 2021 Ford F-150 XLT truck thanks to the Wounded Warriors Family Support’s “Mobility is Freedom” program.
“It’s a real blessing. I was surprised and I didn’t want to hold my breath or get my hopes up,” said Akin.
The now medically retired staff sergeant was severely injured in 2013 when he stepped on a victim-operated IED.
“There were three items. The first one hurt a child, the second was found by locals when they took care of the kid and when I disabled the secondary device, there was a third device up in the location where I was working. I couldn’t find this third device, and then it got me,” Akin told News 19.
The IED took his left hand and leg.
Akin says he was looking for small business grants for veterans when he found out about the Mobility is Freedom program and decided to take a chance.
“I just happened to receive an email from someone that I knew and they said, ‘Hey, we have an opportunity, get your information in for Wounded Warrior Family Support. They’re going to have a drawing on a truck. So, I filled out the documentation, sent it in and within like three weeks, they called me and said congratulations, you won,” he smiled.
He says they are still working on getting the equipment he needs installed.
“What I’ll wind up getting is either a piece for the rear, the bed of the truck or in the tailgate section, I’ll have a lift for a wheelchair and that really will help me later down the line when I’m finally ready to move into a wheelchair more than I am now,” laughed Akin.
The truck helps in more ways than one.
Akin says his previous truck was unreliable, so he can now sell it and make an investment towards his future small business.
Akin encourages veterans to reach out to organizations like the EOD Warrior Foundation or Wounded Warriors Family Support for any type of help they may need because this is proof they step up to help those who put it all on the line for freedom.