Matthew Keil Hero Story

Matt Heil in rehabMatthew Keil enlisted in the United States Army immediately following high school and served for seven years. He volunteered for his first tour in Iraq and served as infantry squad leader.

“I volunteered because I was single and had hoped to take the place of someone who was either married or had kids,” Matt said. But it was Matt who would get married before his second tour in Iraq.

During his second tour, Matt was shot by a sniper in the neck. “I knew I was instantly paralyzed when they were working on me; I couldn’t move my arms,” he said. The bullet severed his spine, clipped an artery and his left lung and exited the left side of his back, leaving the 25-year-old newlywed of 43 days a quadriplegic.

As a quadriplegic Matt will require specialized medical care and benefits for the rest of his life. While recovering from his injuries Matt was introduced to Bobby Hager, national service officer (NSO) for the Paralyzed Veterans of America, who assisted him through the maze of procedures and paperwork necessary to receive VA benefits. “I didn’t have the knowledge to go through this by myself,” Matt said.

After his tragic injury, Matt received two Purple Hearts and two Bronze Stars. He was medically discharged from the United States Army and retired as a staff sergeant.

“Without PVA, I definitely would not be where I am today,” Matt says.

Matt and his wife, Tracy, now live outside Denver, Colorado, and Matt is a member of the Mountain States Chapter of Paralyzed Veterans of America.

Paralyzed Veterans of America (Paralyzed Veterans) is the only veterans service organization that represents servicemen and  women who are paralyzed as a result of spinal cord injury or disease.

Paralyzed Veterans is a nonprofit organization and is financed solely through donations from generous and caring Americans.

To learn how you can help our paralyzed veterans, visit

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    Matthew Keil Hero Story