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Wounded Warrior hopes to inspire others at All the Way Home Conference in Dubuque

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Toby Montoya always knew that he wanted to follow in his fathers and grandfathers footsteps and serve in the military. He enrolled into the Army after High School in 1992, after three years of service he left the Army. After September 11th in 2001, Montoya decided to reenlist in the military. In 2004, he was assigned a tour in Iraq. Montoya says once he got home he suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

"Everyone changes in combat," he said. "It changed me. But I suffered from P.T.S.D. from that. I didn't get any help for about two years."

After receiving help, Montoya joined his best friend in 2008 in a tour to Afghanistan. While there, he barley survived a blast from an improvised explosive device (IED).

"The next thing I know is I am getting my clothes cut off me, I was in a trauma hospital," he said. "I do remember fighting them because I wanted to be by my men. I didn't want to leave, I wasn't ready...But I didn't know the significance of my injuries."

After the explosion, Montoya was left with head, neck, back, bladder, and lung injuries. Although he has suffered through pain, he says life still goes on and he wouldn't have his life any other way.

"I am thankful for my injury," he said. "I forgave the terrorists that blew me up, and that took me years. It was war, he was just doing his job and that's hard to do. But once I was able to forgive him, I had a weight lifted off of me."

On Saturday, Toby Montoya will be a featured speaker at the All the Way Home Conference in Dubuque. He hopes his story will inspire others. Montoya, a member of the Wounded Warriors Project credits the project for always being there for him and supporting him in his times of need.

"In the Wounded Warriors Project our logo is one warrior carrying another warrior. That's what happened to me. I was carried off the battlefield, I was the warrior on top. Now, I am the warrior on the bottom. I am going to ask everyone out there, be that warrior on the bottom, if you served or not. Find those who need help and carry them so that they can get the help that they need." Montoya said.

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