Injured military vet receives Empowerment Grant to pursue Paralympic dreams

Salt Lake City’s own Matthew Melancon will receive a new snowboard for international competition

(Truckee, California, November 3, 2016) — California’s High Fives Foundation is awarding Salt Lake City resident Matthew Melancon an Empowerment Grant for a high-performance adaptive race snowboard and advanced training fees to prepare him for competition. Melancon is a US military war veteran with amputations to both of his legs. His goal is to become the first combat injured to become a winter Paralympian using prosthetic legs to compete.


While on Patrol in Afghanistan in 2011, Melancon’s vehicle drove over an IED. He was evacuated to San Antonio where he underwent more than 18 surgeries over two years trying to put his feet back together again. Finally, thanks to meeting some civilian amputees who showed him that amputations were not the end of the world, Melancon had both his legs amputated.

In 2016, Melancon joined the Military to the Mountains program of the High Fives Foundation. The program provides weeks of training to injured veterans before bringing them to Squaw Valley to improve at adaptive skiing and snowboarding.

“Matthew is an accomplished snowboarder already,” said Roy Tuscany, executive director of the High Fives Foundation. “This grant from High Fives is essential if he wants to make the US Paralympic Snowboard Team.”

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