Local victim of 2009 Fort Hood shooting wants to help victims of latest rampage

STANLY COUNTY, NC (WBTV) - For a soldier from Stanly County and for his family, word of the rampage this week at Forth Hood sounds hauntingly familiar.

Sgt. Matthew Cooke was shot five times when he threw himself between the shooter, Major Nidal Hasan, and an already injured fellow soldier during the 2009 mass shooting at Fort Hood.

In that case 13 were killed and another 32 injured.

"God did save me for a purpose, it's just someday He'll tell me when and what for," Sgt. Cooke told WBTV from the dining room table in his parent's Norwood home on Thursday.

Maybe helping others is part of that plan.  When news broke about the shooting at Fort Hood on Wednesday, Matthew's mother Diane and stepfather Jerry wanted to keep it from him, but they couldn't...

"We were worried about Matt, he sat here in shock, Jerry started crying, and Matt turned around to Jerry and was comforting Jerry," Matt's mother Diane Frappier told WBTV.

Matthew's role has frequently been that of a comforter, in fact, that's what he was doing when he was shot, trying to help a fellow soldier who was already down.

"I lost 12 pints of blood that day," Cooke added.

The road to recovery has been long because his injuries were so serious.

"...but the internal injuries are what hurt the most and what's hard to get over," Cooke pointed out.

There have been physical as well as mental challenges, but Matthew has thrown himself right at them.  In fact, he was back at Fort Hood last week taking part in a Ride to Recovery event. He said at one point he was standing near where this week's shooting occurred.

He says this latest mass shooting means dozens more families will need help, and he has a unique perspective that he wants to share.

"There is support, we're here for you, there is families out there willing to support you and help you, guide you in the right direction," Cooke said.
Cooke and his family say they weren't surprised to hear about the second shooting at Fort Hood.

"As of right now, I mean especially because of the shooting recently, there's no change," Cooke said.   "There is not no change in security."

There are words of praise for the help Cooke has gotten from the Veterans Administration, but his mother and stepdad say they are disappointed in the Army response.

Frappier feels that the Army is very responsive to the military victims of such incidents, but as much to the family members, and she says they scars as well.

Cooke was honored earlier this year as a special guest during President Obama's State of the Union address.  He says he doesn't want the victims of the 2009 shooting to be forgotten.