Walking example of determination; Injured Marine meets goal of graduating

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Retired Marine Corporal Matt Bradford has been through more than most people.

"I was severely injured on January 18, 2007, where I lost my vision and my legs," Bradford said.

It's a setback that would have sidelined many. But anyone who knows Bradford knows determination is what drives the Purple Heart recipient.

"I reenlisted in April of 2010, becoming the first blind double amputee to re-enlist."

In 2012, when he retired from the military, he turned his focus to another mission.

"My wife knew it was an ultimate goal of mine to attend the University of Kentucky," Bradford said.

Growing up in Winchester, he's a die-hard UK fan.

"I've got UK pretty much all over my body, from my prosthetic eye to my prosthetic legs," Bradford exclaimed.

On Friday, he earned one of his biggest UK honors.

"I've been in Rupp Arena. I've been on the floor of Rupp Arena, but walking across receiving a diploma - it's truly amazing."

Bradford is a member of the 2017 graduating class for UK. He earned his degree in Media Arts and Studies, in addition to History.

Bradford never doubted this day would come. "The one thing my wife has always told me is when I got hurt; I started making a list of things I wanted to do. And instead of just talking about it, I went out and accomplished it."

Bradford credits his wife with helping him reach his goals.

"For me ... graduating, it's all her," Bradford said. "She's the one that gets me here every day."

For Bradford, who's even been featured on CBS's "60 Minutes," this moment, walking underneath the jerseys and lights of Rupp, just might be his proudest moment; a mission accomplished for this Marine who has become a walking example of hard work and determination.

"If you've got dreams and goals, go out and do it. There's no limitations; there is always a way."

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