Theodore Roosevelt said, ‘A man who is good enough to shed his blood for his country is good enough to be given a square deal afterwards. More than that no man is entitled to, and less than that no man shall have.’
And so say all of us. The harsh truth, however, is that nations do not adequately look after the maimed and disabled young people who have carried out their governments’ orders – it is left to charity.
Help for Heroes (H4H) is a charity launched in October 2007 to raise funds to support the young men and women of British armed forces who have suffered life-changing injuries. They will bear their scars for the rest of their lives.
H4H helps young people to regain their confidence and face life afresh in circumstances they may never have imagined.
Matthew Wilson’s father and grandfather were soldiers and from his earliest days Matthew dreamed of joining the army. His father was killed in action at the age of 23 when Matthew was four years old.
In 2005 Matthew joined the army. In 2009 he was sent to Afghanistan with 2nd Battalion The Rifles. In June he stepped on a bomb hidden in the ground, losing his left leg and sustaining severe injuries to his left arm. He was 24.
Within hours he had been flown back to UK for life-saving surgery and intensive care in Selly Oak Hospital, Birmingham. He remained there for eight weeks and spent a further twelve months at the rehabilitation centre, Headley Court.
Although he had wanted to return to the front line he realised that was impossible so had to rethink his life.
Just a year after losing his leg H4H helped fund a scholarship to allow Matthew to gain his personal pilot’s license with the ultimate goal of becoming a commercial pilot.
The charity has raised almost 94,000 million since its inception. All the money raised is used for the rehabilitation and retraining of injured service personnel. Administration charges are met from the sale of H4H merchandise, ranging from H4H wrist bands at £2:00 as worn by Princes William and Harry and sporting personalities like David Beckham to bracelets at £90:00.