A Soldier-EMT Comes Home
Story & photos by Ex Captain Steven Grogan
On Friday afternoon, April 5th, US Army Paratrooper Matthew Khattab came home to Lynbrook and was greeted by a crowd of EMT's, firefighters, veterans, family and friends, as he stepped off the Lynbrook Fire Department bus in front of the Emergency Medical Company, MEDCO, on Vincent Avenue where Matt has been an EMT since 2008.
The Lynbrook Fire Department, led by Chief Anthony DeCarlo, picked Matt up at JFK Airport. The procession from the airport to Lynbrook was led by the fire chief's car with a special escort provided by Patriot Riders' motorcycles from Staten Island. As they drove on Sunrise Highway in Lynbrook the procession passed under a huge American flag hanging between fire department ladder trucks from Lynbrook's Truck Company and Rockville Centre's Eureka Company.
Matt, an airborne infantryman, joined the US Army in 2010, and is assigned to the 173rd Airborne Combat Team out of Vicenza, Italy. In June 2012, Matt was sent to Afghanistan where on August 2nd his unit was ambushed by attacking insurgents who launched three RPG's (rocket propelled grenades) at his unit while out on patrol. One of the those grenades landed next to Matt and exploded showering him with shrapnel. The shrapnel tore into his arm, but luckily the body armor he was wearing absorbed the rest of the exploding shrapnel. The body armor saved his life. Matt was offered time out of the area to recuperate and heal his wounds but he refused and stayed with his unit. He remained on duty with his arm wrapped in bandages. He was later awarded the Purple Heart.
When Matt got off the bus in front of the firehouse on Friday the well-wishes included a group of veterans from Lynbrook's American Legion who saluted the returning soldier and each shook his hand thanking him for his service. Lynbrook Mayor William Hendrick was present as was Nassau County Legislator Fran Becker.
The members of MEDCO, who had put signs on the firehouse welcoming Matt home, put out a collation of food and beverage for everyone to enjoy. They also gave Matt back his old EMT helmet. Additionally, Matt was presented with a fleece jacket from Nassau County Firefighters Operation Wounded Warrior, an organization that helps wounded warriors and which the Lynbrook Fire Department is actively involved.
It was really so nice seeing everyone that day and I thank everyone for coming," said Matt.
"It was so good to see him home," said Chief DeCarlo. "Everyone in Lynbrook appreciates Matt's service as an EMT and as a member of this fire department, but now everyone should especially appreciate his service to our country. Let me say on behalf of the Lynbrook Fire Department, thank you, Matt."
Matt will be home on leave for 30 days and then return to his unit in Italy. He has seven months left in his military service.
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