SGT Emmanuel Melendez-Diaz
Emmanuel “Manny” Melendez-Diaz always felt a calling to join the military. He enlisted in the Army as an Infantryman in 2003.
On Dec.4, 2004, in Muqdadiyah, Iraq, Specialist Melendez-Diaz was serving with the 2nd Battalion, 2nd Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division on a road clearance patrol when his vehicle hit an improvised explosive device (IED). This resulted in damage to his right leg, severe nerve damage in the left foot, severe pulmonary disease, and severe intestinal damage. In March 2006, doctors amputated Manny’s right leg above the knee. He was medically discharged from the Army in May 2011.
Now medically retired, Manny enjoys handcycling, kayaking, and spending time with his wife, Natibel. The two have hopes and aspirations for their future, but they are forced to put many of them on hold because of the daily restrictions Manny experiences in their current home. They feel relieved Manny will finally have wheelchair access and a yard when he receives his specially adapted custom Homes For Our Troops home. He will no longer have to deal with the daily frustration of damaging the walls with his wheelchair. He especially is looking forward to making meals together with Natibel in the home’s fully accessible kitchen. The financial freedom a donated home will provide the perfect foundation for Manny to fulfill his dream of opening his own catering business. Natibel also looks forward to the peace of mind that the HFOT home will bring, and cannot wait to see her husband comfortable and happy, rather than struggle in his everyday life. The home will also provide Natibel with the freedom to pursue her goal of opening her own makeup company. In the future, they would also like to start a family.
Manny and Natibel are choosing to live in Maryland to eliminate long travel time to the hospital.
Manny thanks future donors and supporters of HFOT for giving him a new hope. “Thank you for helping me to be closer to the hospital, get my medical care easier, and regain mobility in my house.”