A native of Cedar City, Utah, Sergeant Matthew Melancon joined the army at eighteen years old with the dream of serving his country and making the world a better place. He would deploy twice within three years. On his rotation in Afghanistan, Melancon’s MRAP truck was hit by an Improvised Explosive Device in Afghanistan. The blast shattered his heel bones instantly. In an attempt to rescue his crew and evacuate, Melancon jumped from the vehicle, falling nearly seven feet into the blast crater and breaking both of his ankles. While there were no casualties from the attack, both Melancon and his driver were immediately evacuated to Germany for treatment.
Unable to cope with the thought of losing his legs, Melancon opted for dual “Limb Salvage”. For the next two years, he underwent nearly two dozen intense reconstructive surgeries to save his legs. With each surgery his goals of returning to duty fell further away. He became overweight, angry and withdrawn. “I became everything I feared.”
In July, 2013 Melancon developed a life threatening MRSA infection in his left leg, resulting in amputation. Convinced by his surroundings, medical doctors, and family history, Melancon believed amputation was permanently disabling.
Divorced, retired, and immobilized, Melancon had two options. “Give up or Get up”. That fall he discovered the power of occupational therapy and was introduced to the world of adaptive winter sports and the athletes that pursue them. Snowboarding captured his attention, giving him the courage to amputate his second leg and forever changing his life.
Now an athlete and motivational speaker, Melancon believes in the power of attitude and how we inspire those around us. A recipient of the Combat Infantry Badge and the Purple Heart, In 2015 Melancon competed in his first International Snowboarding competition and is focused on qualifying for the 2018 Paralympic Games in PyeongChang, South Korea.
A sought after public speaker, Melancon travels the country sharing his story, encouraging and motivating others to let go of their fears and reach their highest potential. From elementary school assemblies to veteran organizations to corporate sales meetings, Matthew Melancon’s enthusiasm for life and his passion for helping others brings a unique and refreshing perspective to gatherings.