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Local soldier's road to recovery after hit with IED

Local soldier's road to recovery

POCATELLO, Idaho - Pam and Dennis Krumwiede sat side-by-side, beaming with anticipation, because in just a few days their son will finally be returning home to Pocatello after spending years in recovery at a hospital in Texas.

Thursday marks the two-year mark since 22-year old Matt Krumwiede stepped on an IED while serving in Kandahar, Afghanistan. He was initially pronounced dead, but then medics were able to save him.

He was transferred to a hospital in Germany, and later to a medical facility in Texas where he has spent the past two years recovering.

Matt's twin brother Mark is also serving in the United States Army, but he has been stationed in Iraq.

The Krumwiede family knew their twin sons, Matt and Mark were destined for the life of military service since the boys were three years old.

"Then when they were four, they would go to the swimming pool, hold their hands behind their back, and swim across the pool just like do in 'SEAL traning,'" Pam recalled. "They would go to the bottom, sit there, and I was like, 'isn't it time to come up, now?'"

But then two years ago, just four days before Pam and Dennis' oldest son Paul was to get married, Pam received that dreaded phone call which changed the family's life forever.

"That day is ingrained in my memory. I went about my daily ritual - exercised in the morning, continued planning a wedding, stained the deck, sat down to my morning bowl of cereal. But right when I took that first bite, the phone rang, and boy was I glad that I was sitting down," Pam said.

From that point forward, the Krumwiede family had to learn to balance continuing with their daily lives, what needed to be done, and how to cope with the devastating news.

"That was quite an event," Dennis said. "To be hosting a wedding reception on one hand, and then to step outside and see a motorcycle club honoring my son's injury. It was like night and day."

Pam spent most of those two years in Texas, taking care of her son.

She said his determination has led him to now try and learn to walk on his new prosthetic legs since he lost both of his legs and an arm on that fateful day.

"That's him getting on the lift," Pam pointed-out, flipping through photos of Matt learning to snowboard once again. "He can only go about two hours before we have to change his bandages."

Matt has also been trying his hand at getting back up on that four-wheeler and to learn how to hunt once again as well.

The Krumwiede's said he has always had a fighting spirit.

Although Matt and his family had been facing the ultimate test of physical strength, the road to recovery was also a rare test of emotional and spiritual strength which not only pulled them through, but closer together as well.

"It's a new norm. That's what a lot of people are telling us; we are just living a new norm," Dennis said.

Both Pam and Dennis said they are thankful for the community's unending support during these past two years and said they could not have pulled through as well without their letters, prayers, and encouragement. 

In preparation for Matt's return, the family is replacing all of the carpet with hardwood floors in their home so he can easily maneuver through the rooms in his wheelchair.

Matt is expected to come home on June 29.

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