By Dorothy Young, FORSCOM Public Affairs OfficeJuly 9, 2009
FORT MCPHERSON, Ga. (July 8, 2009) - President Barack Obama hosted 1,200 military members and their Families at a White House barbeque to celebrate the country's independence Saturday.
SPC Matthew K. Ollar and his wife Magdalena were two of the lucky ones who attended the festivities this weekend.
Ollar, 29, of U.S. Army Forces Command, is an assistant training NCO assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, U.S. Army Garrison here. He also is a wounded warrior who continues to serve despite the numerous medical procedures he has endured since May 2005.
"I was taken out by a sniper," said Ollar. "There were four of us pulling security on a rooftop in Samarra, Iraq, when we heard a shot. We looked around and couldn't see anything. The second shot caught me in the right butt cheek," he said. "The bullet entered there then pierced my rectum, my small bowel and my bladder. It stopped in my diaphragm before it had a chance to puncture my lung," said Ollar.
After almost two years of medical rehabilitation that included seven surgeries, he redeployed to Iraq in Jan 2007 and served until March 2008 as a member of the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Stewart, Ga. He has been stationed at Fort McPherson since September. When FORSCOM called for wounded Soldiers and their Family members to travel to Washington, D.C., Ollar was happy to volunteer.
"I would like to thank all the Soldiers and civilians who made my trip to the White House possible," he said. "There were a lot of last-minute arrangements made by people in FORSCOM and Garrison that ultimately decided whether or not my wife and I could take part in this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet the President of the United States," Ollar said.
"All the expectations I had for the weekend were met and surpassed. At the White House, every detail was first class - from the food to the entertainment [which included Jimmy Fallon, the late-night talk show host, as emcee and musical guests Michelle Branch and the Foo Fighters]," said Ollar.
"Aside from all the star power, there was an amazing fireworks show following the concert. All together, it was an unforgettable night filled with surprises and amazement. I am eternally grateful for the opportunity that I was given to spend the 4th of July with the president and his family at the White House."