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Public Statements

Vermont's Matayka Family

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, Vermonters are fiercely proud of those who serve in our National Guard. For decades--and never more so than in the last decade--when the Nation sounded the call to service, the Vermont National Guard has answered. Today, I would like to pay tribute to Ed and Karen Matayka, two Vermont National Guard soldiers whose perseverance in the face of huge odds is an inspiration to all.

The Army brought Ed and Karen together--they met at combat medic training in Texas--and they have been an Army family ever since. The Mataykas deployed twice together, once to Kuwait immediately following their wedding, and a second time to Afghanistan with Vermont's 86th Infantry Brigade Combat Team in 2010. It was during that second deployment when tragedy struck.

While running a convoy mission in Afghanistan, Ed's vehicle was hit by an improvised explosive device, leaving him with multiple injuries, including the amputation of his legs. Some doctors questioned whether Ed would survive.

Yet he never gave up. With Karen's support and the assistance of skilled Army doctors, Ed is well on the road to recovery. Not only is Ed making great strides in his personal health, with newly authorized assistance for in vitro fertilization for service members, Ed and Karen recently welcomed the arrival of twins: Ryan David and Alana Marie. They are the first Army family to have used the technique after Congress passed a law authorizing TRICARE coverage of reproductive therapies for military families dealing with the consequences of catastrophic injury.

As a Vermonter, I am proud of Ed and Karen. Ryan and Alana are surely lucky to have them as parents.

I ask unanimous consent that a copy of the recent U.S. Army article entitled "Double amputee gets another chance of starting family'' be printed in the Record.


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