PORTRAIT OF INSPIRATION
Canadian ex-paratrooper Dan Matthews still struggles
with deep psychological scars
Story and photography by Stephen J. Thorne
Sergeant Dan Matthews was the only one of six paratroopers to escape without a scrape from an Oct. 2, 2003, mine blast in Afghanistan. Now, almost 14 years later, the psychological wounds inflicted on that terrible day and in the days since still throb.
As he cradles and contemplates the Maple Leaf pennant that flew from his Iltis military vehicle, the guilt and the pain are written all over Matthews’ face, despite his heroic attempts to save the occupants of what was left of the lead vehicle in his patrol. Matthews, who had been conducting rear security in the back of the second vehicle and facing away from the blast, cra...