Local News

Parents await injured son's return from Afghanistan

Posted February 23, 2010 11:51 p.m. EST
Updated February 24, 2010 12:26 a.m. EST

— Drucilla and Jim Matea, of Henderson, learned over the weekend that their son, a Camp Lejeune-based Marine, was injured in Afghanistan.

Staff Sgt. Steven Matea's job was to neutralize and disarm bombs and IEDs. The 33-year-old was severely wounded Saturday when a Taliban missile exposed.

“It's a nightmare," Drucilla Matea said Tuesday. “The first thing that goes through a mother’s mind is has his legs been blown off? Does he have permanent head trauma?”

Steven Matea suffered injuries to his legs and chest.

“One of the lungs was pierced,” Jim Matea said.

Despite his wounds, the Marine was lucky to survive the blast.

“The Marine that was beside him died,” Drucilla Matea said.

A graduate of Southern Vance High School and East Carolina University, Steven Mateo was on his fourth tour overseas to Iraq and Afghanistan.

“He’s real dedicated,” Jim Matea said. “He would never even dream about passing this obligation to somebody else."

Steven Matea was still in Afghanistan Tuesday, waiting to be flown to Germany, and then to the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md.

Drucilla Matea plans to travel there with her daughter-in-law to be with him. Jim Matea is staying behind to care for his 4-year-old grandson.

Doctors say Steven Matea, who is scheduled to be promoted to gunnery sergeant, should make a full recovery.