He started his military career as a private in obligatory military service. Then he was an extended military service soldier, left for Iraq, and upon return he became a private professional soldier (enlisted). He served in the elite reconnaissance/surveillance company. He was the Rosomak driver in the 7th rotation of the Polish Military Contingent in Afghanistan. He was wounded in 2010 during the attack on his base. He does not remember the accident, he regained his conscience in Warsaw hospital. “I felt weird, as if I didn’t have my left hand or left leg. I wondered what had happened. Only then I learnt that the shell fragment hitting my head caused permanent damages, paralyzing the left side of my body”, he remembers. “Hemiplegia and paresis”, such was a diagnose. He spent over a year in hospitals.
His wounds made him retire from his military service. The illness made his home a confinement to him. He would leave only for sanitarium to take his rehabilitation treatment. “My family was struggling to bring me round”, he recalls. It was not easy. One day, his brother, browsing the internet, found the website of the Association of Soldiers Wounded and Injured in the Missions Abroad. Marcin contacted other soldiers, wounded in foreign mission, and he felt he was a part of a group. The fact that he can meet his friends from the association, or talk to them on the phone, is really important to him.
Thanks to the support of the Foundation of the Polish Armaments Group (Polska Grupa Zbrojeniowa, PGZ), he received a specialist chair. For a soldier who must struggle everyday with his paresis and contractures, such a chair is a significant improvement of his life comfort, and an immense facilitation in his everyday functioning. “I use this equipment systematically, at least twice a day. As a result, I sleep better, my spine aches have lessened, and I don’t have to take so many painkillers”, Corporal Chłopeniuk admits. He also does not need to be massaged manually as often as he used to.
Before accident, he was very active: he played basketball, liked to go fishing. Today, sport has been replaced by rehabilitation treatment. He knows he is doomed to it until the end of his life. Still, he never gives up. He does his rehabilitation exercises, and is in the process of applying for stem cell transplantation. This year, for the first time he had participated in the Veteran’s Day celebrations. He discovered it was also his holiday, and he felt he was noticed by other people. Important were meetings with his colleagues from missions, and the moments of remembering those soldiers who had never come back to their homes.
Missions: PMC Iraq 1st rotation, PMC Afghanistan 7th rotation
Discipline: light athletics (shot-put and discus throw), co-driver in a car drive
autor zdjęć: Michał Niwicz