All Ways Caring HomeCare are proud to serve and acknowledge all who have served our country. We honor our country’s veterans by providing the high-quality home care needed to help them keep their independence and maintain their dignity. We also stand with our veterans and active duty personnel to observe and respect military holidays and monthly themes.
On Monday, May 27, we celebrate Memorial Day, remembering and honoring those who have made the ultimate sacrifice while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. We are humbled to share an incredible story about our All Ways Caring client in Berkely, Michigan, retired U.S. Army SPC Matthew Drake, and his caregiver Scott Kudwa who are defying the odds after a traumatic war incident. Together, they provide inspiration for us all and a voice for those in need.
Matthew watched the horrific events of 9/11 unfold live on television with his younger siblings, who were shaking in fear. At that moment, Matthew decided “I have to do something,” and selflessly joined the U.S. Army. He was deployed to Iraq immediately after the competition of basic training with the 101st Airborne Division.
In October 2004, Matthew was critically wounded when his army vehicle was hit by a suicide bomber. He was the lone survivor from the attack, suffering massive wounds, including a traumatic brain injury. Matthew’s injuries left him comatose and on life support.
Despite the grim diagnosis, Matthew eventually awoke from his coma. He immediately began bedside rehabilitation and spent years in intense physical and occupational therapies. During that time, Matthew had to relearn how to walk and talk – something the doctors said he would never do again. Nevertheless, he persisted and proved everyone wrong as he stood, walked and saluted in full uniform when he received his Purple Heart medal in 2005.
“Matthew defies the odds, he has an amazing resolve,” said caregiver Scott Kudwa. “They told him he couldn’t walk or talk, but he does.”
Scott assists Matthew with strategies to help maintain his active lifestyle. When they first met, Matthew wanted assistance with his short-term memory loss and hesitance in the kitchen. Scott immediately began helping Matthew create schedules to remember his daily activities. He also helped Matthew create grocery lists, shop at smaller, less intimidating stores and make healthy and warm meals throughout the week.
Today, Matthew lives semi-independently in his own apartment and works three days a week. Matthew also pursues his passion for speaking to the community and sharing his story of hope and recovery. His life, recovery and journey were recently captured in the book Just as He is Right Now. Earlier this year, Matthew spoke at the All Ways Caring HomeCare national meeting in Louisville, Kentucky, about his gratefulness for the team’s unwavering mission to help him and others alike.
“People like you are important to people like me,” Matthew said at the conference. “Thank you for what you do.”
All Ways Caring HomeCare is passionate about our connection to our military veterans. May is recognized nationally as the Month of the Military Caregiver. This military-themed observance acts to raise awareness for both wounded warriors and the people who care for them. We are indebted to Matthew for his selflessness and sacrifice and are pleased to include him as an honorary spokesperson, embodying the very nature of our mission – to help people live their best life.