Sgt Matthew Pennington
Home Award Program Recipient
Army Sergeant Matthew Pennington was born in Fort Worth, Texas and attended Spring Town High School. In 2001 at the age of 17, Matthew enlisted with the Army, where he would eventually serve three tours of duty, the first tour in Afghanistan from May 2002 through November 2002, and two tours in Iraq from October 2003 to August 2004, and November 2005 through April 2006.
Upon a visit to Maine while home after his first deployment to Afghanistan, Pennington fell in love with Marjorie Ricker, and the two were later married in 2003 in Fayetteville, North Carolina. At the time Sergeant Pennington was assigned as a team leader for a communications switch with 51st Signal Battalion and performed various mission essential courier duties. After his second deployment, he elected to serve with Charlie Battery 3-321st Field Artillery Regiment out of Fort Bragg as a Machine Gunner.
On his third deployment on April 29, 2006, while driving the scout vehicle on a convoy mission near Tikrit, Iraq, Sergeant Pennington’s unit was ambushed and attacked with an improvised explosive device (IED). The vehicle absorbed much of the blast, however, the shrapnel tore through Sergeant Pennington’s legs, resulting in the amputation of his left leg below the knee and severe damage to his right leg. Sergeant Pennington would spend a year recovering at Walter Reed Hospital in Washington undergoing surgeries and additional rehabilitative therapies.
Specialist Pennington was medically retired in April of 2007 and promoted to the rank of Sergeant. Among his military awards and decorations are: Purple Heart, State of Maine Silver Star, 2 Army Commendations Medals, Joint Service Achievement Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Good Conduct Medal, National Defense and Army Service Ribbon.
In 2010 Matthew landed a role in a short film “A Marines Guide to Fishing”. The film portrays an injured veteran’s transition back into the workplace while coping with his loss one year later on his “Alive Day.” Matthew and Marjorie currently live in Maine, and renewed their wedding vows in 2011.
Matthew’s wife Marjorie first learned about Homes For Our Troops on the internet and encouraged Matthew to apply. They were thrilled to hear later that their application was accepted and that a mortgage-free home that suited their needs was available for them in Bumpass, Va. Previously, they were renting a small home, so both Matthew and Marjorie are happy to have a more spacious living space and having a place to call home. Matthew is currently scheduled to undergo surgery for the amputation of his right leg due to prolonged complications from his injury, and this mortgage-free home eases his worries about paying rent during his recovery. He and Marjorie would also like to have children and are grateful that their new home will accommodate any future additions as well as their current assortment of dogs, cats and birds.
In addition to acting, Matthew also has a passion for public speaking and advocating for Veterans on a number of causes such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and other complications Veterans face when returning home from service. His public engagements have been therapeutic and have allowed him to continue healing and help others contend with their psychological scars of battle. Matthew has also served on an investigative panel for Defense Secretary Robert Gates over patient treatment at Walter Reed and has received recognition for his service to the country by United States Senators (R-Maine) Susan Collins and (Former R-Maine) Olympia Snowe, and Sergeant Major of the Army Kenneth O. Preston.
Marjorie currently serves as Co-Director of the Heroes Thanking Heroes Program with the nonprofit group, Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes, which provides assistance to veterans wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan. She is also an ardent supporter of her husband’s work on Veterans’ issues, and often assists him at fundraising events he attends to raise awareness about PTSD. They would like to thank Homes For Our Troops and the Home Award Program for making the dream of home ownership a reality for them, and the work being done by Homes For Our Troops to help injured Veterans across the country.