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      Coming home for a wounded warrior: Matt's Memo

      Army Private First Class Matthew Leyva returns home from Afghanistan.

      The biggest hugs are reserved for military homecomings. It's only right. We saw it tonight as Army Private First Class Matthew Leyva returned home from Afghanistan. He wheeled himself from the plane to the waiting group of family and friends who turned out to remind him of how much they care. He is just a few days shy of the anniversary of the day when an Improvised Explosive Device went off near him and robbed him of both legs and full use of his arms and hands. That bomb did not rob him of his indomitable spirit.

      Leyva spent two months in a coma after the blast. How else could the body heal from such trauma? His mother tonight said it was been a roller coaster ride, but somehow he is now doing well. His attitude certainly reflects an extraordinary level of optimism. He somehow considers himself blessed. When you see the smile stretched across his face it's easy to believe he means it.

      Matthew deserves our deepest respect. Modern military medical care is bringing home more soldiers who survive what once were fatal injuries. Leyva proves that a second chance is all he needed to appreciate the gifts in his life.

      As the anniversary of the explosion approaches next month, Private First Class Leyva will be focused on another anniversary. He and his wife will renew their wedding vows as living proof of their commitment to staying together "for better or worse, in sickness and in health."

      Any questions or comment please forward them to mattsmemo@CNYcentral.com. I may even use some of your thoughts on NBC 3 News at 5:00, the 10:00 News on CW6 or on CNYcentral.com.

      The opinions expressed in this blog are the sole responsibility of the author and are not reflective of the views or opinions of Barrington Broadcasting, WSTM-NBC3, its management or employees.