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Patriot Profile 
Matthew Slaydon
 
Duty, Honor, Sacrifice  
Hunting Elk; Totally Blind
Matt Slaydon loves adventure; He was born in Morocco and as a young boy
matthew slaydon eod uniform
Matt Slaydon circa 2006
traveled the world with his military family. He enlisted in the Air Force and became one of their top Explosive Ordnance Disposal specialist (EOD), serving three tours in Iraq. The adrenaline rush and danger of the EOD occupation was dramatized in the award winning film Hurt Locker. "The movie accurately captured the tension of the EOD occupation." Said Matt. After being blinded and losing his arm to an IED blast in 2007, Matt thought that he would never again experience the passion of hunting; that was until he met Camp Patriot. 
 
"The challenge of helping Matt become the first totally blind person to successfully hunt a free run elk was incredibly motivating. While there have been other blind hunters, as far as we can determine none has successfully hunted a wild elk in open country." Said Micah Clark, Executive Director of Camp Patriot. 


matt's 6x6 elk
The Team, Matt and 6X6 Elk
Camp Patriot employs mountain climbing, fishing and hunting as a means to build relationships with wounded veterans. "Once we get on the adventure we become a team with one goal. We eat, sleep, lug gear and work together, while each man must pull his own weight, we are also each others keepers. The experience builds trust which is the most essential component of every relationship and key to the rehabilitation process." added Clark. 
 
Last October, Matt and the Camp Patriot team joined together in Utah which has some of he largest elk herds in North America. The Camp Patriot team had successfully helped another blind vet hunt elk in a high fence enclosure, but never on the elk's home turf. "The first challenge was to equip the scope with a camera system so that we could be Matt's eyes. We literally took the scope to Best Buy and purchased a video camera system. We attached the camera to the rifle so that it looked directly through the scope. The video output ran in real time on a laptop, this was the only way we could see where Matt was aiming. 
 
"I was with a team again working towards a goal, loving every second of it. Camp Patriot is an awesome organization." 
-Matthew Slaydon

Camp Patriot surrounded Matt with an expert team of guides to give him the best chance at making it into the record books. Incredibly, on the very last day of the hunt, as the sun was setting and cold swept over Southern Utah, a 6 X 6 bull elk walked out from the thick brush. The big bull trotted across Matt's position as Matt's spotter gave him the signal; NOW! Matt was able to melt the 700 pound bull from 261 yards with one shot to become, as far as we know, the only totally blind hunter to successfully hunt a free run elk. The entire adventure was filmed as an episode for the Emmy Award Winning Sovereign Sportsman TV show.  
Technical Sgt. Christopher "Matt" Slaydon (Retired):
Technical Sgt. Christopher "Matt" Slaydon is a retired Air Force Active Duty Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician.      
matt speaking
Matt Slaydon, Motivational Speaker
Matt's military career began in 1989 when he enlisted in the Air Force serving as an A-10 and F-16 Aircraft Armament Systems Technician at Nellis AFB, Osan AB, and Luke AFB. After serving nine years, Sergeant Slaydon took a three year break in service working for Boeing and General Dynamics, but he longed for the pride of military service. In 2002, he joined the Air Force Reserves and began a year and a half of Explosive Ordnance Disposal training. Following training, he was stationed with the 944th EOD flight at Luke AFB in Phoenix, Arizona. As an active reservist, he completed two tours in Iraq. While on his second deployment, Sergeant Slaydon made the decision to return to full active duty and moved from the reserves to active duty in 2006. He deployed to Iraq for third tour in 2007 and was stationed in Kirkuk. During his three tours, Sergeant Slaydon suited up for 125 plus missions, disarmed over 100 IEDs and destroyed over 150,000 pounds of captured enemy ordnance.
 
Wounded But Not Broken:
matt wounded
On October 24, 2007, an IED Sergeant Slaydon was investigating outside Kirkuk detonated. The blast was devastating, it caused a traumatic amputation of his arm above the elbow. Sand and debris shot up under his helmet and mask severely damaged both eyes rendering him totally blind. He also suffered multiple facial fractures, lacerations, peppering injuries and a collapsed lung. Matt spent 15 months recovering from his injuries at Brooke Army Medical Center and The Center for the Intrepid in San Antonio, Texas. Matt medically retired from the Air Force on August 27, 2009. Today, Matt lives in Phoenix, Arizona and works as a motivational speaker, he often tells the story of how he and Camp Patriot successfully hunted a wild elk, Matt is also pursuing his doctorate degree in Psychology . 
 
About Camp Patriot: Challenge, Change and Lead
Established in 2006 Camp Patriot is a 501c3 non-profit organization headquartered Ed ontop with Flag in Libby, Montana. Our mission is to empower wounded veterans of all generations through our unique outdoor rehabilitation programs. Camp Patriot programs allow our veteran participants to earn back confidence and prove that they can accomplish anything. Each program is specifically designed to create a powerful healing through a "life transformation". 

Our program's fosters strong relationships between our participants and our mentors. It is through these relationships that our participants engage in the process of healing their physical and emotional wounds in order to successfully reintegrate back into their communities. 

 

Camp Patriot has transformed the lives of 125 veterans, and is rated "5 Stars" by the organization Great Nonprofits
 
God Bless, 
Micah, Bob, Bill and all of us at Camp Patriot
p. 480-201-4036

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