Pfc. Theodore Matthew Glende
Known as "Matt" to his family and friends, Pfc. Glende always knew he wanted to be a soldier. Born in Rochester, NY, he graduated from McQuaid Jesuit in 2007 and from Niagara University with a degree in military science in 2011. He has only been in Afghanistan for a few weeks when he was killed.
His aunt, Maryann Glende, said: "Knowing that he ... died a hero is giving us strength at this time. He gave the ultimate sacrifice."
According to a TV interview with his wife Alexandra, when Pfc. Glende's unit came under attack, their medic was wounded and unable to help the injured. She was told by Theodore's friends that were with him at the time of the incident that the medic was walking Theodore through how to care for the wounded when a mortar went off. Theodore's body blocked it from hitting anyone else, saving five lives.
Niagara University's president, Joseph L. Levesque, released this statement in response to Glende's death:
""The Niagara University community is deeply saddened by the loss of one of our own. Matt was called to serve and made the ultimate sacrifice for God and Country. We extend our sincerest sympathy and prayers to the Glende family during this most difficult time."
On Pfc. Glende's Facebook Memorial Page,
Josh Rachel wrote:
"Some of the other Infantrymen and I from 1st and 2nd Battalions here in Bagram had the honor of being the Pallbearers for Glende during the ceremony in which he was put on a C130 for his final trip home. He was treated with the all of the honor and respect a Fallen Hero deserves. I didn't get many opportunities to talk with Glende in the rear; but whenever I did, he came off as an intelligent, funny guy and he'll be sorely missed by both his D Co brothers, as well as his friends and family outside of the service."
Margaret Storms, a friend, wrote:
“He talked all the time about how excited he was to be in the military. He was so proud to be there. ... He was kind and loyal and giving and had the most generous spirit. ... He cared so much about everybody.”
Pfc. Glende was a newlywed; he and his wife Alexandra were just married on April 16.
"I want people to recognize the truly heroic sacrifice he made. He saved five people that day and was the only casualty in the firefight."
Alexandra has been in touch with the five soldiers who were injured and they are all expected to survive.
His young widow wrote on Pfc. Glende's Facebook Memorial page:
"I have a story I want to share. This happened today. Shortly after the officers left my house this evening after sharing the devastating news, I looked outside my window and noticed a rainbow. It wasn't a normal rainbow, but a small rectangular rainbow in the clouds. I've never seen anything like it. It looked like the rainbows you get on your wall on a sunny day, but in the clouds. I know it was him. He's here ♥ ".
Pfc. Glende's family traveled to Dover AFB in Delaware to receive his body. He will be buried in Rochester, but final arrangements are pending. His wife is asking that in his memory, donations can be made to the Wounded Warrior Project.
Pfc. Glende is also survived by his parents and a younger brother.
Rest in peace, Pfc. Theodore Matthew Glende. You have served with honor.
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