By LARRY VAUGHT
MIDDLETOWN, Ohio — If you listen to Matthew Bradford, he wants you to believe that his story is not all that special.
Obviously, he’s wrong.
“My story is nothing special. I just stepped in the wrong spot at the wrong time and that led me down an unbelievable journey,” said Bradford here Saturday during his talk to the Ohio UK Convention. “I truly love coming here and spending time with you, but my story is not that special.”
The 120-plus UK fans at Saturday’s event certainly disagree based on the reception Bradford got and how many fans wanted to talk with him.
Bradford joined the Marines to protect his country because of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. He was deployed to Iraq in September of 2006 where he said his company was shot at daily. Four months later he stepped on an explosive device on patrol and the blast not only blinded him but also eventually caused him to lose both legs. If that wasn’t enough, he had broken bones in his hand, ruptured bladder, bruised stomach and small intestine damage.
Bradford, the first double amputee ever to re-enlist in the Marines, was President Donald Trump’s guest at the 2018 State of the Union address. He graduated from the University of Kentucky in 2017 and is a life-long UK fan.
“Having a purpose is not just having a happy life but also to inspire and motivate others,” Bradford said. “If I can’t inspire and motivate one person a day, my job is not done. I need to take advantage of the blessings I have every day.”
Bradford said despite his horrific injuries in Iraq, he still found “light at the end of the tunnel” and never doubted he still was meant to help others.
“That day (the bomb exploded) put me on a new patrol to go out and share my story. I was 20 years old and the Lord had my path mapped out. Lord placed me on this patrol to deal with ups and downs of life,” Bradford said. “You need know what your next step will be but I am going to go forward. It’s best to look at now and not in the future because the future is not guaranteed. It’s been almost 12 years since I was injured and I am blessed to wake up each day to go do unbelievable things for Spartan races to marathons to just being positive.
“My life is about resiliency. We all have obstacles, not just me. We just have to take them head on and go forward. I enjoy each and every day of my life. This is how God wanted me. It tests my heart to push on.
“My injuries are not my weakness. They are my strength. They motivate me each day to push myself. Everything I do is for the American flag. I love this country and will support it until the day I die. I am not a hero. I was just a Marine doing my job.”