He lost his legs after stepping on an IED. Now his community is raising funds to buy him a house. - East Idaho News
RISE 4 Matt

He lost his legs after stepping on an IED. Now his community is raising funds to buy him a house.

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POCATELLO — Matthew Krumwiede was on patrol with his unit before he stepped on the bomb.

It was June 2012 and he was the leader of his four-person squad with the U.S. Army in the Kandahar province of Afghanistan. They were on patrol checking on Afghanistan National Army units the U.S. had set up for security in the area.

While walking through a field, they came under fire by the Taliban. The soldiers took cover in a nearby mud-brick building with a small courtyard.

While trying to return fire and lead his team to safety, Krumwiede stepped on an IED. It went off and the impact of the blast knocked him out.

The next thing he remembers is waking up in the Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas. Both of his legs from the knee down were gone.

His arm was also badly damaged and he spent the next year in the hospital. He had close to 50 surgeries related to his injuries.

During this time, he tried to process what had happened to him.

“I had waves of anxiety, anger and defeat and it took a long, long time to process everything,” Krumwiede said.

Krumwiede says there were times when he forgot he didn’t have legs, and he fell down while trying to get out of bed and go to the bathroom.

It was a long road of recovery and it took time to come to terms with his circumstances. It wasn’t easy and he knew he’d have to make adjustments and take it one day at a time.

RISE 4 Matt

The Gary Sinise Foundation is holding a fundraising event, R.I.S.E. 4 Matt, for Krumwiede on June 8 at Grace Lutheran High School in Pocatello. R.I.S.E. (Restoring Independence Supporting Empowerment) is a national program that builds specially adapted smart homes for severely wounded heroes.

The fundraiser will help provide a house for Krumwiede that meets his needs. People can sponsor Krumwiede’s new home at four levels: $1,000 for silver, $2,000 for gold, $4,000 for platinum and $6,000 for diamond.

The event will also include a dinner, silent auction and a trivia bowl.

Krumwiede’s mother, Pam, who’s been his biggest cheerleader and supporter over the years, is the organizer of the event. It’s hard for her to put into words how thankful she is to the Gary Sinise Foundation.

“For someone to come along and say, ‘Here, we’re gonna build your son a home and one that fits his needs’ is astronomical. I have a hard time putting it in words because I’m just so, so thankful,” Pam said.

“It’ll be really cool to have the community come together like that,” Krumwiede adds. “The community here in Pocatello has been fantastic for me and my family and has shown a ton of support. I’m very grateful for that.”

To reserve a seat or learn more, email RISE4Matt@gmail.com.

A little bit of hope

While doing physical therapy, he saw other veterans with similar injuries and saw them at different stages of recovery.

“Being around them and seeing we’re all at different points in our rehab — Seeing some guys doing better … was nice to see. It gave you a little bit of hope,” Krumwiede said.

Almost 12 years have passed since Krumwiede experienced his injury. He no longer dreams about having legs and is making the most out of his conditions.

He now has prosthetic legs and enjoys skiing, white water kayaking, mountain biking, horseback riding and hunting.

“I can continue pushing myself to be the best I can be and do the best I can in the situation I have right now,” Krumwiede said.

He lives in Sun Valley and works for a nonprofit called Higher Ground, which specializes in teaching adaptive sports to people with similar circumstances. Krumwiede’s main job is alumni coordinator, but he’s also a part-time ski instructor and he specializes in teaching stand up skiing to adaptive mono skiing.

Our attorneys tell us we need to put this disclaimer in stories involving fundraisers: EastIdahoNews.com does not assure that the money deposited to the account will be applied for the benefit of the persons named as beneficiaries.