SAN ANTONIO (KTSA News) – As we prepare to celebrate Independence Day, a severely wounded veteran will celebrate his independence in a brand new specialized dream home in West Bexar County, thanks to Helping a Hero and Perry Homes.
Retired Army CPL Matt Deatherage lost both his legs in an IED blast in Afghanistan in 2011. He was brought to San Antonio Military Medical Center where he underwent 37 surgeries. He also developed Type 1 diabetes, but he maintains a positive outlook on life. With two prosthetic legs, he remains active. He enjoys hunting and playing golf.
“Many others have paid much more than me, and you know, if given the choice and the opportunity to go back and do it all over again, I’d do it over again in a heartbeat,” said Deatherage.
KTSA News was there when Deatherage entered his new home in the Trails at Westpoint near Loop 1604 and Wiseman Road.
“I love it,” he said as he walked through the front door. The 4-bedroom home has wider hallways, lower countertops, a modified bathroom area and safety features which enable him to be independent.
“I’m taken aback. I’m trying to soak it all in,” he said.
Helping a Hero put on quite a welcome home ceremony in the Trails at Westpointe neighborhood Monday, complete with a parade of military jeeps, veterans organizations, Kids R Kids Liberty Field, the San Antonio Patriot Guard Riders and fire trucks.
Country star Lee Greenwood performed for the flag-waving crowd, starting out with the Aaron Tippin song “Where the Stars and Stripes and the Eagle Fly.” The ceremony ended with Greenwood leading the children in singing his own hit song ,”God Bless the USA.”
He says when he wrote the song in 1983, he never dreamed it would be such a hit for decades. It’s a staple at military events, ceremonies and patriotic holidays and celebrations. Greenwood says “God Bless the USA” has served as an anthem of unity after tragic events such as the Gulf War, 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina.
“Each time, it became something that people would grasp for unity. It’s not my song anymore. It belongs to America. I’m just happy to come and sing it at an event like this,” Greenwood told KTSA News.
He travels across the country with Helping a Hero as the organization presents specialized homes to severely wounded veterans, and this is one of Greenwood’s busiest times of the year as our nation prepares to celebrate Independence Day. He says the welcome home ceremonies are special to him.
“As we give these homes to wounded warriors, it’s a celebration. It’s not a sad event,” he told KTSA News.