He received a hero's welcome by the Patriot Guard Riders when he first came home on July 18th, but today, wounded soldier Matthew Leyva, who lost both of his legs in Afghanistan, was able to finally celebrate his marriage the way he and his wife Raelynn always dreamed.
Last July, they were married quickly by a justice of the peace before Matthew was deployed to Afghanistan, originally planning on a full wedding when he got back in August. But, he was wounded on August 9, 2011, losing both of his legs, and injuring both of his hands and his arms.
"They've always talked about having something a little bit bigger," Ed Sochia, Matthew's father says.
With months of rehabilitation necessary, their big wedding plans for 2011 were thrown out the window.
But, after Matthew underwent rehab for many months, today was finally the day they were able to celebrate their marriage, Matthew even admitting it was something he wanted not just for himself, but for his wife as well.
They didn't expect a lot, but when members of the community heard his story, and that they wanted to renew their vows, many jumped at the chance to donate their services to truly make the day special.
"A lot of people care," Matthew says. "I mean, not every day people donate all the tuxedoes and flowers and all sorts of stuff, it's a real big help, and I really appreciate it."
Everything from the site of the rehearsal dinner at Sharkey's Sports Bar and Restaurant to the spa package for the bride at Innovations Salon and Spa was donated, truly making it the big wedding both Matthew and his wife deserved.