SSG Daniel Metzdorf
Mission Accomplished on Dec. 12, 2005
Daniel is the first above the knee amputee to stay on active duty with the 2nd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division. Army SSG Daniel Metzdorf figured his career as an Infantryman was over when he lost his right leg to a roadside bomb in Iraq in January 2004.
Back at Walter Reed Army Medical Hospital, Metzdorf saw other amputees ambling by on high-tech prosthetic legs and had a crazy idea: he wanted to go back into battle with the 82nd Airborne. It was a long and painful struggle. He had 19 operations and faced hours of grueling rehab, first learning to walk again, and then to run and swim. Confident that he was ready, Metzdorf applied for reinstatement. Instead of a new post, the Army had another offer: a medical discharge.
To a fighter like Metzdorf, quitting didn’t seem like an option. “I told them, ‘I’m not going to get out’,” he says. He applied—and was rejected—twice more before he won over one important ally, his unit commander, who weighed in on his behalf.
Finally, the Army relented, assigning Metzdorf to a desk job at Fort Bragg, N.C. He’s still angling to get back to combat duty. “I’m still an asset,” Metzdorf says. “I just want to give back as much as I got.”
Homes For Our Troops sent a crew to Daniel’s home to install shower grab bars in the bathroom and install a handrail on the stairs that lead to the garage.
Here is a letter we received from Daniel after the adaptation was completed. “I just want to say thanks again to you. I know what you think. . .you guys just installed some grab bars and some hand rails. That is not it at all my friend! I stood up in my shower the whole time for the first time and it is because of you guys. I will now walk down my steps to my garage without going slow or thinking of falling. This all seems like safety to some people, But it is not. You gave me freedom and that is the gift I will take with me and share with all I know. Being in the Army I know what it means to provide freedom but I have never provided what you guys gave me. Thank you all very much and I am forever in your debt. You are all true American Heroes.” Your Friend
SSG Daniel Metzdorf