SUFFOLK COUNTY, NY - Six years after losing both legs in combat in Afghanistan, Matias Ferreira has not only become one of the world's first double amputee police officers, he's done it with flying colors.
Ferreira lost his legs after stepping on an I.E.D. Since then he has run marathons and completed the 29-week police training program, earning a perfect score on the qualifying exam. He was elected president of his police academy class that graduated March 24th, after having been selected to be a platoon leader for the Suffolk County Police Academy class. Ferreira turned down all offers for special treatment during his time at the academy.
While he was playing on a select softball team for amputees that toured the county, he met his wife. They have a baby daughter, who's now 2 1/2 years old.
His wife, Tiffany, said that Ferreira's story of overcoming adversity is particularly compelling because of its universality. "He took an obstacle and scrunched it." His ability to do that, she said, was broadly inspiring, "because everybody has an obstacle in their life."
"If I'm a patrol officer for 20 or 30 years, I'll be blessed as it is," Ferreira said in an interview, "or if I become a K-9 handler or chief, I'll just hope I worked hard for that."