A double-amputee Marine, who lost both legs to an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan, is being hailed as a hero for saving a baby from a smoking car. In a story reminiscent of another heroic act by a military member, Marine veteran Matias Ferreira was leaving his wedding rehearsal when a mother's desperate cry for help caused him to forego his own personal safety and spring into action.
After her car crashed into a media pole, the mother, who was trapped in her driver’s seat, began shouting “My baby! My baby!" as smoke began pouring out of the car. Thinking of his own 11-month-old daughter, Marine Matias Ferreira jumped out of his pick-up truck and sprinted sprinted on his prosthetic legs into action.
The double-amputee Marine vet told the New York Daily News, "With the Marines, you are taught to be prepared and act. Instinctively you just react, you don’t freeze, and thankfully we were able to make a difference. We didn’t know if the car was on fire or anything else. We knew we had to get them to safety."
Ferreira wasn't the only hero that day. The "we" he refers to in the previous quote describes his brother and future father-in-law. While the U.S. Marine veteran was rescuing the baby from the smoking car, the other two men rushed to the aid of the mother and freed her from the driver's seat.
Thank you to all involved for your bravery and quick action which probably saved the lives of a mother and her child.
Ferreira lost both legs from the knees down and broke his pelvis after stepping on a improvised explosive device while fighting the Taliban during a tour of duty in Afghanistan in January 2011.
Recovery, rehabilitation and an advanced pair of prostheses have him living a seemingly normal life that includes sports and a motorcycle.
In August, the Marine vet began a five-year apprenticeship with New York’s Steamfitters Local 638 via the Helmets to Hardhats military transition program where he is learning to design, build and maintain mechanical operating systems in commercial, residential and industrial buildings.
Ferreira said he hopes the rescue experience shows the promise of people with disabilities.
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