A U.S. Marine Corps veteran who lost both legs in Afghanistan has become the first active duty double amputee police officer to join the Suffolk County Police Department in New York.
Matias Ferreira, 28, who was born in Uruguay and came to the U.S. when he was six years old, had always dreamed of becoming a police officer. Despite having both of his legs amputated below the knee after stepping on an explosive device in Afghanistan in 2011, Ferreira never gave up on his dream.
“I had a really good support system that got me back into physical activities and, before you knew it, I was just really trying to get myself physically prepared to join the police department,” Ferreira said. “I had a lot of my friends who were more severely injured tell me, ‘Hey, you can do this man, you can do it, go ahead.’”
On Friday, Ferreira’s dream finally came true when he graduated from the Suffolk County Police Academy after passing 29 rigorous weeks of training challenges along with other recruits, reports WCBS 880. Both his wife, Tiffany Ferreira, and their daughter were in attendance at the ceremony.
Mrs. Ferreira told reporters, “To watch my husband achieve his dream … that I think most people would think wasn’t even possible, is really special,” she told the station.
The former Marine is believed to be one of the country’s first double amputees to become an active duty police officer.
According to Fox 5 New York, Ferreira’s first assignment as a patrol officer begins next week. He told reporters that he isn’t worried about breaking a leg on the job. “If I break my leg, I go to the trunk of my car, put on a new one, and I’m back on duty.”
Ferreira never allowed the fact that he had prosthetic legs to slow him down or affect his strong spirit. In fact, he even played on an all-amputee softball team, known as the Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team, which traveled the country. “Our motto is life without limbs is limitless,” Ferreira said. “We’re able to do things that we use to do and more.”
He hopes that his story will inspire others to pursue their dreams regardless of any perceived limitations. “I think that anybody with or without a disability or an amputation can do anything they put their mind up to,” he said.
H/T: Fox 5 New York
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