Matias Ferreira proves that with determination and hard work, nothing can get in the way of achieving your dreams. As a child Matias aspired to be either a U.S. Marine or police officer. Back then, he never imagined he would achieve both.
Matias joined the Marines at the age of 19. The 9/11 attacks ignited his desire to serve, as he had several friends who were impacted. In September 2010, he deployed to Afghanistan as a machine gunner with the 1st Battalion, 8th Marines. His military career abruptly ended during that tour when he lost both legs and broke his pelvis after stepping on an improvised explosive device (IED) in January 2011.
After his injury, Matias assumed his chances of serving his country and community again were over. “I never in a million years thought I would be able to accomplish becoming a police officer after my injury,” he says.
Once Matias started physical therapy, the prospect of reaching his goal to serve on a police force became a possibility. “I began to think that maybe I would have a chance to meet the physical needs of the job,” he says.
Matias made national headlines when he became the first double amputee full-time police officer in the country. Matias says his family, specifically his young daughter Tianna, is what kept him motivated to reach this achievement.
Receiving a specially adapted custom HFOT home will complete the American dream for Matias. “It will be our forever home and I will be able to raise my daughter without having to worry about the future,” he says.
Though he can get around well on prosthetics now, Matias knows that this will not always be the case. “Having the home will set me up for future success. When I am older, having those amenities will be huge,” he says.
For others facing adversity, Matias encourages them to never give up. “When something is in your mind and in your heart, nothing can put that fire out. If you work hard, anything is possible,” he says.
HFOT kicked off the building of Matias’ home Smithtown, N.Y. on Nov. 4, 2017. To learn more about this project visit www.hfotusa.org/ferreira.