Tuesday, July 3, 2007


On Monday, July 2, Matt was able (with the help of his occupational therapist and physical therapists) to transfer to a motorized wheelchair and leave his room on his own power for the first time since he was injured.


marciad said...

Thank you Matt for your service. Keep up the good work and God bless you.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful! Tessa & Matt you look great! Looking forward to seeing you very soon.
Bob & Becky

marta said...

Can't stop you now, Matt. Good to see you mobile and with Tessa smiling too. Thank you for your continued fighting spirit, both of you!

Ann M. said...

Sweet indeed! Great to see you up and about, Matt - and Tessa, you look wonderful!

Ann L said...

What a beautiful sight! Happy 4th of July, Matt and Tessa. You look great!

Love, Annie :)

Uncle Jim said...

Good to see you moving around, Matt! You've got great help! Happy Fourth of July. Congratulations on your progress. I know it is hard work every day, but you are making giant strides. Good luck with everything. Happy birthday to Jaelen!
Uncle Jim

Michael and Becky Pate said...


It's great to see you mobile and know you have been able to see your children.

Everyday you are in our thoughts and prayers and hope that through our actions we honor you and your service to our country. Today, especially, may you know how much you are honored.

Happy 4th of July,
Michael and Becky Pate

Robert Kobler said...

Hi Matt,

It's so good to see how well you are doing. It's truly inspirational. I was watching Fox News Channel during their evening newscast yesterday, and they featured the Black Lions in Rasheed. Several soldiers and officers were interviewed as they were telling about their mission. I was hoping you saw it.

Keep your chin up.

Robert Kobler

scfranson said...

Matt you are one AWESOME man ! May God Bless you and your family and I'm very thankful that you are alive and able to be with your wonderful family. Big Hugs !

Anonymous said...

Thank you for fighting for our country so that my three children are able to sleep safely in their beds every night. You are a hero among many! Thank You! I will pray for you and your family! My cousin was in that roadside bomb with you and I know that you pray for him. Keep up your spirits you are doing a great job with your recovery. God only allows us to handle what he feels we can. So you must be a special guy.

Anonymous said...

Sgt. Lammers ... thank you for your sacrfice so that we can remain a free country. Our prayers are with you and your family as you go through the next phase of your journey! We've been told you are an incredible man. Keep up the good work.

Lt. Perry's mom

Anonymous said...

Thanks Matt for your courage and commitment to our country, making it a free and safe place for all. You have a wonderful outlook as I can see in your pictures. Lt. Perry is my niece and a great person. I live in Atlanta, GA. Please keep up the great attitude as you truly are blessed and appreciated as all the boys fighting for our country. You are in our prayers every day. God Bless you and your family. Donna

Anonymous said...

Matt, keep up the great job you are doing on your recovery. I work with LT Perry's Mom and she told me about your website. You are blessed with an amazing family and they (and the staff, especially LT Perry!) are doing a great job taking care of you. As an officer in the Navy and a grateful American(and a fellow Kansas Citian I might add), I'm truly humbled by your sacrifice. You are a true hero. May God Bless You.


Susan said...

Good Morning Matt

Hope you had a great 4th of July. My name is Susan and I work with Lt. Perry's mother. She shared your story with me and I am deeply touched by your service and dedication in serving our country. I did get the chills after reading about you. You have a beautiful family and I wish you all the best in your recovery. Keep up your spirits and hang in there. God Bless Susan

The Sweeney's said...

Hi Matt- You and Tessa are such an inspiration. God bless you all for your strength. We are so glad you had such a good weekend.

I found this article and I just had to send it to you.

A Disabled CEO's $2 Million Innovation Empire
By Maggie Overfelt, FSB writer,
An entrepreneur teaches his team to overcome obstacles.

Portland, Ore. (FSB Magazine) -- Vail Horton, the co-founder and CEO of Keen Mobility (keenmobility.com), likes to glide along the hallway of his headquarters in Portland, Ore., on his wooden skateboard, checking in with employees who might need an extra jolt of encouragement or a laugh with their morning coffee. Wearing Dragon sunglasses and a dazzling smile, the man who runs this medical-device manufacturer might seem like any other brash, 30-year-old entrepreneur - with one striking difference: Horton leaves his legs behind in his office, propped up against his giant desk.

Horton was born without legs or a fully developed right hand, and doctors told his parents he would never be able to walk. But after consultations with rehabilitation experts and months of intense physical therapy at home, Horton took his first steps at age 4 with the aid of crutches and prostheses. He has been exceeding expectations ever since.

While still an undergraduate business major at the University of Portland, he developed chronic pain in his shoulders from the prolonged wear and tear of walking on crutches. Instead of resorting to a wheelchair, he came up with a new kind of crutch, using shock absorbers at the base to lessen the impact. Realizing that he had coincidentally discovered a promising market, Horton and his roommate, Jerry Carleton (now vice president of business development), decided to start a company that could help others overcome disabilities. The two launched Keen Mobility in 2002, naming their startup for the grandfather who encourage Horton at every turn, and giving it a lofty goal: to better the lives of customers who are elderly or disabled.

Today Keen designs and manufactures about 35 "assistive devices," from collapsable wheelchairs and pressure-relieving foam cushions to adjustable walkers that open wide to help stabilize patients as they try to rise from a bed or a chair. Supported by a staff of 17, Horton has built a profitable business with revenues of $2 million in 2006, up from $1.2 million in 2005.

But that growth has not come easily. Horton faces a challenge common to many small-business owners: attracting and retaining talent in a tight labor market where big competitors can offer higher pay and better perks. Corporations such as Sunrise Medical (sunrisemedical.com), which sells thousands of products under four brand names and owns more than 400 nursing homes worldwide, dominate the $50-billion-a-year medical-device market. Over the past three years, three of Horton's best employees have defected to larger competitors.
To attract talented workers, Horton stresses that Keen is an exciting, innovative place to work. He targets job candidates who care more about helping the disabled and elderly than maximizing their own pay. He stresses that by selling Keen's cutting-edge products they will be making a difference. Also, in the freewheeling culture he fosters, anyone can come up with a new product, make it, or sell it. "I hire those," he says, "who have enough passion to sustain them through a job that's extremely difficult."

Tim Durst, a director at PRTM (prtm.com), a management consulting firm in Waltham, Mass., that specializes in the medical-device market, says a reputation for creativity can serve as a powerful lure. "Because people like to be associated with innovative companies, you'll attract more top talent," he says.

Keen prides itself on regularly updating and improving its devices. When Horton was perfecting that first crutch, he came across a pressure-relieving foam initially developed by NASA. He thought it might make a more comfortable wheelchair cushion and help prevent pressure ulcers, the debilitating sores that can afflict patients who are confined to beds or wheelchairs. He took 200 cushions to a trade show in Chicago in 2003 and sold out in one day. After tests by an independent lab backed up Keen's performance claims, Horton spun the product off into a full line of pressure-relieving cushions and mattresses that have become the company's bestsellers.

Last year Horton pulled off a personnel coup when he coaxed former customer Brian Creadon, 39, the director of rehabilitation operations for a large nursing home, to come aboard as a senior vice president. Creadon, based in Tampa, was the first full-time sales executive Horton had recruited, and he initially rejected the offer. "I told him he'd never be able to afford me," Creadon says with a laugh. Ever the salesman, Horton pursued his prey with relentless charm, calling and e-mailing him every week for three months until Creadon agreed to take the job for about $50 less a year than his old salary and despite Keen's lack of a 401(k) program.

Creadon says that Horton convinced him that leaving his job was "the right thing to do for the good of our industry," because "no one else innovates like Keen does." It was certainly a good move for Keen; three months after Creadon was hired, the company's sales at nursing homes and VA hospitals in the Southeast region rose from $2,000 a month to $30,000, and it signed up more than 20 new customers.

After seeing those numbers, Horton decided to expand his sales force and open offices around the country. Instead of looking for sales professionals, he sought nurses, therapists, and other medical workers who had used Keen's products and could appreciate their value. Horton's next two hires: a physical therapist in Boston and an occupational therapist in Milwaukee. Because these new sales reps were experienced in patient care and wise to the intricacies of Medicare and Medicaid regulations, Horton figured they would be better at persuading hospitals and nursing homes to pay a premium for his quality products. (Keen's wheelchairs and walkers tend to run from $10 to $30 more than the competition's.)

Durst cautions that Horton will eventually need to balance his innovative, free-for-all office culture with a more structured sales-management system if he wants to continue to grow. Horton is not yet buying that suggestion. "We'll go as long as we can before we hire any managers," he says. "In my experience, managers aren't that creative when it comes to solving problems."

Can Horton take his company to the next level of success without diluting its spirit? Despite Keen's disadvantages of scale, you can never count Horton out. When he was a little boy, his mother stored his favorite cereal on a high kitchen shelf, forbidding anyone else in the family to help him reach it. After multiple tries and assorted bruises, he attained his goal - and he's been reaching higher ever since.

We also want you both to know we really appreciate your beautiful smiles.

Anonymous said...

Hey brother good to see your getting better. You keep focused on getting well and we'll keep taking the fight to the enemy.

PFC Anderson

Judy said...

Dear Matt,
I am a teacher at Gardner Elementary with your mom. I so wish you the very best. Each and every day has to get better for you. I will continue to pray for you and your family. I appreciate your committment to the military. I say a prayer every day for all the women and men serving in the military. What a courageous thing for all of you who serve us well! I am a mom of a son who is serving in the US Marine Corp. He is stationed right now in Al Qaim which is in the Al Anbar province very close to the Syrian border along the Euphrates River. My daughter leaves for boot camp to also serve in the Marine Corp. I am so very proud of them. My heart reaches out to you and your family. God bless you all. I will be praying for you daily.
Judy Cooper

Lisa Blaes said...

Hola from Guatemala,

We´ve been so anxious to get on your website to see how you are. The latest pictures are looking good...congratulation on your baby girls first birthday...what a cutie´

Our whole group has been praying for you daily and we have requested a mass for your intentions to be said at the Sisters of the Holy Eucharist.

Please give your mom and dad our love!

HTS 2007 Missionaries

racerjg24 said...


Good morning. Thank you for your service. Keep up the good work.