Matt’s Story

Site created on December 31, 2018

Welcome to our CaringBridge website. We are using it to keep family and friends updated in one place. We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement. Thank you for visiting.  

Our son, Matthew Branch,  was involved in a near-fatal hunting accident on Friday 12/28/18 in Mississippi.  A group of family members and friends were on a duck hunt. They had wrapped up a successful hunt and had gathered to decide what to do next.  Shotguns were loaded and one of the duck dogs jumped in the Ranger which unexpectantly caused a gun to misfire which hit Matt in his femoral artery at close range.  A split second freak hunting accident.  Everyone got still in confusion until Matt yelled out and dropped to the ground.  His buddies and cousin immediately responded beyond their normal abilities.  9-1-1 was called and Matt was driven out of the duck blind to the nearest point on the highway to meet up with an EMT response team.  No one realized the amount of blood that was being lost because it was flowing through his waders into his boots.  His friends worked hard to keep him conscious on the way to the highway which wasn't an easy task.  Once they got there, two of them were able to lift this 6'6" solidly built, former LSU Offensive Lineman out of the Ranger and onto a hillside to keep his leg elevated.  He was then transported to the nearest Medical Facility - Merit Medical Center in Vicksburg.  There, he was immediately taken into surgery to save his life by attempting to stop the bleeding.  They were able to stabilize him enough to have him flown to University Medical Center in Jackson, MS - the state's only Trauma Center.   He's been in ICU at University since Friday evening and in order to save his life, we had to make the choice to amputate his lower left leg.  He's not out of the woods yet and its a long road to recovery, but we're getting positive signs by the hour.  We're so thankful to everyone who has called, texted, and put him on their prayer lists and chains.  We believe in the power of GOD.  It's miraculous that he's made it this far and I believe there's a purpose for all of it.  

I will be posting notes about his progress daily as we go through this journey.  Please feel free to add comments or messages of encouragement here on this site.

"Jesus replied, what is impossible with man is possible with God." Luke 18:27

"Everything is possible for one who believes." Mark 9:23

"For no word from God will ever fail", Luke 1:37

"I am the Lord of all mankind.  Is anything too hard for me?" Jeremiah 32:27

"For you created my inmost being; you knit me in my mother's womb.  I praise you because I am fearfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well." Psalm 139: 13-14

"Hearing this, Jesus said to Jairus, "Don't be afraid, just believe and she shall be healed." Luke 8:50


Newest Update

Journal entry by Brenda Tarver

Hello Everyone.  I know it's been a while since I've posted any updates.  Matt has had over a month home and is focused on learning how to live life with one leg.  It's a physical and mental challenge.  You're so accustomed to being able to just jump up and do things.  But it's not that way anymore.  It's a whole new mindset.  Things that are second nature are no longer.  To simply react and do something takes thought, time and motivation.  I'm so proud of him for doing as well as he is.  He's working, driving, going to PT and working through the challenges each day.  Challenges that you don't know you have until you face them head-on.  He's out seeing people and making the best of his life ahead of him.  The last time we talked, he mentioned that he was a victim.  I reminded him that he IS a survivor and that God has a PURPOSE for him.  As a 30-year-old who has always been able to do anything physically that he wanted to do, I'm sure that it doesn't always resonate.  There are doubts, fears, and questions.  As a parent, you want to take that fear away from your kids, but you can't always do so.  All you can do is remind them that there is someone GREATER than us that watches over us and gives us the STRENGTH to move forward.  A friend of mine posted this on Facebook which motivated me to make this post...

"BE STILL IN MY PRESENCE even though countless tasks clamor for your attention.  Nothing is as important as spending time with ME.  While you wait in My Presence, I do My best work within you, transforming you by the renewing of your mind.  If you skimp on this time with Me, you may plunge head-long into the wrong activities, missing the richness I have planned for you.  Do not seek Me primarily for what I can give you.  Remember that I, the Giver, am infinitely greater than any gift that I impart to you.  Though I delight in blessing my children, I am deeply grieved when My blessings become idols in their hearts.  Anything can be an idol if it distracts you from Me in your First Love.  When I am the ultimate desire of your heart, you are safe from the danger of idolatry.  As you wait in My Presence, enjoy the great gift of all: Christ in you, the hope of Glory!
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