A corporal who was saved by a soldier after stepping on an explosive is now returning the favour a decade on after his former colleague was made homeless and depressed.
Corporal Andy-Reid from Merseyside was 33 years old when he stepped on the improvised explosives device whilst on patrol in Afghanistan in 2009.
Despite losing both of his legs and an arm, Andy may not have survived if it wasn’t for the brave 18-year-old Alex Kemp who came to his rescue.
Alex rushed him back to camp and assisted with dressing his wounds, before Andy was taken to camp Bastion. He was then flown to Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham the next day.
Following the accident, they only had a brief meeting a few months later and didn’t see each other again for nine years.
Alex left the army in 2010 after he was admitted to the army hospital as a result of mental health issues; while Andy went on to become an ex-forces ambassador. This role led him to help raise awareness of mental health and helped fellow ex-veterans re-adjust and transition into civilian jobs.
When Andy recently heard the news that Alex was homeless as a result of post traumatic stress disorder, he reached out to him and offered to help get him back on his feet.
Andy, 42 said: ‘The hard work has come from Alex and with the help of others we have just put things in place for him’.
‘I saw that Alex had put a post on Facebook and that it didn’t sound right, that he might be struggling, so I got in touch’.
‘He told me he wasn’t in a good place, his relationship had broken down, he was homeless. ‘I felt a guilty to start with because I thought that I should have checked in on the guys from our section a long time ago, that I should have been able to help him before that’.
‘I told him that he needs to get his life back on track. ‘I paid for him to get the train to Manchester and that I would pick him up. He arrived with two carrier bags of belongings.
‘From there we got a plan in place to help him get back on his feet and become self-sufficient.’
Alex, 28, from Halifax, Yorkshire, said: ‘I came out of the army in late 2010 after being admitted to the army hospital due to my mental health’.
‘We had lost a few men in our section and it had been hard to cope with the things I had seen, I lost my grandmother and lost my home, had no job and was struggling to see my daughter’.
‘I wanted to be a dad and not a dead hero, I choose to come out so I could be with my child’.
‘I wasn’t sleeping, if I left the house I was dripping with sweat, didn’t want to speak to people or work. Then I would get a job and get back on my feet for it to fall apart again and it was just a cycle’.
‘I even made an attempt to take my own life and was admitted to hospital. ‘So many people have helped me since, I was able to get a job, I now have a place to stay so that I can have my daughter to visit’.
‘I can’t thank them all enough.’
Talking about the moment he stepped onto the explosive, Andy, who has a six-year-old son with wife Claire said: ‘I remember seeing the dust around me and that I couldn’t see my legs but it never occurred to me just how bad the injuries were.
‘I never even felt any pain. When I was brought out of the coma in hospital I knew straight away that I was a survivor and not a victim, that this would not stop me from living’.
The 42-year-old is now an ambassador for Step Forward Homes, which is made up of ex-military servicemen.