MENASHA, Wis. (WFRV) – U.S. Navy Veteran Matt Schipferling was born in Menasha.
He went to Fox Valley Tech, before enlisting in the Navy in 1986. Schipferling said he was searching for a change.
“(I was looking for) something different, a little more education,” he said.
Schipferling went to basic training at Great Lakes Naval Base in Illinois, where he was trained as an E-2 Firefighter.
“If my memory serves me right, we only had 20 minutes to eat each meal, so it was all repetition,” he said.
Schipferling then transferred to Norfolk Naval Base, before being medically discharged with sever ulcers, after nine months of service.
His medical struggles didn’t end there; After the military, Schipferling suffered from a back condition after years of truck driving, leaving him disabled and reliant on a motorized scooter and a service dog, named Cherokee.
Still though, Schipferling sees his short stint in the service as a pivotal learning moment.
“It was an experience for me, and I think that helped me later on in my life,” he said.
And that would prove true.
On Aug. 30, Schipferling was crossing the intersection at Second Street and Appleton Street in Menasha, when he and Cherokee were hit by a drunk driver.
“The next thing I know, I was on the ground and I heard Cherokee kind of whining, and a woman asking me if I was alright, and I didn’t know,” he recalled.
The scooter was damaged beyond repair, and Schipferling and Cherokee escaped the accident with some bumps and bruises.
But Schipferling credits his time in the Navy with giving him the strength to pull through anything; even a tragic accident.
“This accident was nothing compared (to the Navy), mentally and physically, the accident was nothing.”
There will be a benefit for Schipferling and Cherokee on Sunday, Nov. 1 at the Grand Meridian Banquet Hall in Appleton to raise money for medical expenses, and a new motorized scooter.
You can find information on attending that benefit here.
Have someone you’d like to nominate for Hometown Hero? Let us know below!