SPC REDA SAID MASSACHUSETTS ARMY NATIONAL GUARD
My name is Reda Said, and at the age of 22, my life took a dramatic turn in a matter of seconds. I’m here to share my story, one that has inspired me to strive for greatness.
I was born in Casablanca, Morocco, and when I was just five years old, my family and I moved to the United States, settling in Malden, Massachusetts, a diverse city just 15 minutes away from Boston. My parents faced significant challenges as immigrants, grappling with the language barrier and adjusting to American culture. The pursuit of the American dream was a tough journey for them, and our early years were marked by struggles, including living in public housing and government assistance. Despite these challenges, my parents were determined to provide us with a better life.
From a very young age, I understood that I had a responsibility to secure my family’s future. During my junior year of high school, I developed a plan to lift my family out of poverty, and part of that plan involved enlisting in the Army National Guard. My respect for our troops and the opportunities it offered for personal growth made it an essential step towards my dream career of becoming a police officer or a federal agent. While my father had reservations, he ultimately supported my decision. On the other hand, my mother was deeply upset and tried to dissuade me from joining the military. Through heartfelt conversations, I managed to convey to her the hope and potential that lay ahead. At the age of 17, I needed her signature to move forward, and she gave her consent.
In March of 2018, I enlisted, and my Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) was 88M, a Motor Transport Operator. In June of the same year, I embarked on an intensive ten-week boot camp experience at Ft. Jackson, South Carolina, sacrificing my high school summers for the betterment of my family. Surprisingly, I found solace in the challenging environment, where I learned about my resilience, both mentally and physically. I graduated from high school the following year and proceeded to complete my job training at Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri. This eight-week journey helped me develop into an honorable student who was unwavering in my commitment to personal and military success.
After completing my training, I was assigned to the 1060th Transportation Corp in Framingham, Massachusetts, where I had the privilege of meeting exceptional leaders and like-minded soldiers. Eager to secure my family’s future, I volunteered for numerous active duty assignments. My ultimate goal was to provide my family with their own home.
However, on August 20th, 2022, my life took an unexpected turn. While returning from our annual training in New Brunswick, Canada, a traumatic accident changed everything. I was struck by an M915A3 motor vehicle tractor. It was a life-or-death situation, and although I didn’t cry during the ordeal, I focused on my family and loved ones, maintaining composure as I grappled with severe injuries. The first brush with death occurred just minutes before paramedics arrived, and I found myself in a surreal, dark space.
The paramedics brought me back to consciousness, and the ambulance ride to the hospital was a critical moment. My purpose in life, my family, and my faith were what kept me alive. Upon arriving at the hospital, I was rushed into surgery, and my arm had to be amputated to save my life, despite their best efforts to salvage it. I experienced cardiac arrest during the operation, and my heart stopped for several minutes. But I’m here today, sharing my message, thanks to my determination and the power of faith.
Losing my dominant arm has been a profound challenge, affecting both my physical capabilities and my mental well-being. The constant pain, discomfort, anxiety, and depression are my companions. Nevertheless, I feel blessed to be alive and am grateful to the dedicated individuals who played a vital role in saving my life, especially God. While each day presents its struggles, I am a soldier who continues to fight for my purpose and my dreams.