The expedition has been a blast. I bought a headscarf which I wear with a map of the Everest region on it and I keep joking that I won't get lost because it's close to my brain. I love to goof around. It makes people happy.
The walk to Everest base camp was amazing and I managed to get a few rocks as souvenirs for my little ones." Matt has three lovely kids under the age of eight.
I asked Matt to tell me a little about his time in Afghanistan.
In 2008, I was running a Confidence Course for newly arrived troops who can be a little nervous. We were posting grenades and the shrapnel from one of them found its way through the dirt into my foot and pretty much popped it open. The blast actually knocked me over and I'm a BIG guy. I can't feel most of my foot and part of my leg. On this trek, I either have no feeling or pain.
During this expedition, the entire team noticed that Matt, with his bear-like build, sparklingly blue eyes and big smile, continually hangs at the back of the group, doing 'the sweep'. I wondered why he did this...
I lost many friends during my service. More than I want to remember. One friend I lost...well, I crawled into the bottom of a bottle for two weeks after he died. It was hard. In the army you are trained to have your 'fire-team partner' beside you and you take care of them. Well this entire team is my collective 'fire-team partner' and I'm going to look after all of them on Island Peak.
My biggest hope for our expedition is that it will raise awareness of the difficulties faced by returning veterans, as I feel that public awareness is almost more important than funding. People need to know.
With Matt providing 'the sweep' for the team on Island Peak in a few days, I am 'confident' that this message will get out, particularly when the 'March to the Top' documentary shares the soldiers summit success with the whole of Canada at the end of January.
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