After graduating from High School in Toledo, Ohio, Matt Keil joined the Army in order to pay for college. Little did he know he would learn the meaning of sacrifice and acceptance before all was said and done. After signing up for duty in Iraq in 2004 and eventually spending a year in Rahmadi fighting insurgents, Matt was back in Fort Carson, Colorado where he met and eventually married Tracy Wyatt with whom he had immediately clicked. Getting married while Matt was on leave, the happy couple only had 5 days to spend together before he was redeployed back to Rahmadi. While on duty helping to hang cargo netting on the roof of a house he was shot by a sniper. The bullet entered his neck and exited out his left shoulder damaging his spinal column in the process. Little did Tracy and Matt know that this would change their lives forever. Tracy was told the bad news when she arrived at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Matt was paralyzed from the neck down. The damage done to his spine was not repairable. Matt was now a quadriplegic, without feeling or movement in any of his extremities. This posed extreme challenges on the both of them. Tracy eventually quit her job to help take care of Matt’s increasing needs and their continual search for new housing that would accommodate Matt’s medical requirements was starting to take its toll. Enter into the equation John Gonsalves, a former construction supervisor and founder of Homes for Our Troops. John had noticed that there was not a foundation that could build homes for these soldiers coming home with special needs, so he created one. John and his crew of volunteers, mostly Vietnam veterans, take it upon themselves to build homes for those soldiers in need. Such selflessness must be acknowledged. Homes for Our Troops now has built over 30 homes for servicemen and women in need. Now Matt and Tracy have a great outlook towards the future. They are trying for a child now, something that probably would not have been possible but for the help of John Gonsalves and Homes for Our Troops. Our appreciation goes out to John Gonsalves for his wanting to make a better situation for our returning troops with special needs. His spirit can truly be called courageous.
Donate what you can to John’s organization, Homes for Our Troops, HERE.
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