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Lake Saint Louis community honors Marine wounded in Afghanistan

From left: Lake Saint Louis Mayor Ralph Sidebottom; Lake Saint Louis Police Chief Mike Force; Tim Cooper, father of veteran Matt Cooper, and Captain Timothy “Matt” Cooper.

From left: Lake Saint Louis Mayor Ralph Sidebottom; Lake Saint Louis Police Chief Mike Force; Tim Cooper, father of veteran Matt Cooper, and Captain Timothy “Matt” Cooper.

It was just another day in Marine Capt. Timothy “Matt” Cooper’s life of military service as he led his patrol on a mission in Afghanistan in November of 2009. That was until he stepped on an IED (improvised explosive device), exploding his world and so seriously injuring him that he would never be the same.

In the years since, Cooper has undergone numerous operations and countless hours of physical rehabilitation to find his way back to a semi-normal life.

Cooper says he is representative of the many wounded warriors who are still in need of help and should not be forgotten. And the city of Lake Saint Louis agrees.

On June 21, over 175 people including the mayor, local police chiefs and community members came together at the Jefferson Point Marina to show support for and recognize Cooper for his sacrifice and service to our country.

A low-key young man, Cooper said it was all pretty incredible but quickly changed the focus from himself to other wounded veterans in need.

“The one thing I want to say is that there are a lot more (veterans) out there who could use the help. I know of three U.S. Marines in this general area that could use help more than I do. So we need to work to help them, too.

“Something as simple as one Marine in this area who needs a guide dog – having someone to help raise funds for a guide dog, just any little help like that would be appreciated.”

Last month, Lake Saint Louis resident Greg Jones urged the Board of Aldermen to proclaim June 21 as “Captain Matt Cooper Day” in Lake Saint Louis, and on  June 16 the board presented Cooper with that proclamation.

Mayor Ralph Sidebottom said the city is trying to give back to Cooper.

“I am a great supporter of the vets and anything the vets do, especially given all their service and given their broad and severe wounds, such as Captain Cooper obviously has suffered at the hands of doing a great job for this country,” Sidebottom said.

The fact that Cooper accepted the proclamation and recognition in the name of all veterans impressed Lake Saint Louis Police Chief Mike Force.

“I think that says it all,” Force said. “He represents the best of this country and that’s something we need to remember on a daily basis – not just on a day and an event like this.”

Force said there were a number of organizations that came together to make the event happen, including The Light Bringer Foundation, Inc., the Cornholers of LSL and the Benevolent Society of Commodores. Key organizers of the event were Bob Taylor and Buddy Maupin of the Cornholers of LSL.

Over $2,700 was raised for Cooper as a result of the event. The money will help Cooper live independently in his own home.

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