Veterans

'I'm A Survivor': Meet The Afghanistan Veterans Who Saved Each Other's Lives

Ten years after having his life saved while on tour, Andy Reid helped his former colleague.

A former soldier whose life was saved by a fellow comrade in Afghanistan has returned the favour after discovering the man who saved his life had become homeless.

In 2009, Corporal Andy Reid was on a route patrol in Sangin, Afghanistan, when he stepped on a Taliban bomb losing both legs and an arm.

"I did think right away I'm a survivor, not a victim," said Mr Reid.

Andy Reid in operation before he stepped on a mine 250219 CREDIT Andy Reid
Andy Reid during his military service (Picture: Andy Reid).

One of the soldiers who rushed to his side on the day he was fighting for his life was Alex Kemp.

Had it not been for him and other comrades, Mr Reid says he may not be alive today.

"Alex's had a big part in saving my life," he says.

Two years ago Mr Kemp left the military and due to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and says struggled to adjust to civilian life again.

"I was having a bad time reliving what happens over there [in Afghanistan]," he says.

"I'd lost my grandma and I wasn't seeing my daughter.

"It was just all at once a bit mind-boggling."

Alex Kemp
Alex Kemp.

After spotting him on Facebook, Mr Reid knew something was wrong with his former comrade and he grew concerned.

"If there's anything I can do and return that favour to Alex, then that's what I'm going to do."

Ten years after Andy Reid's life was saved in Afghanistan, he finally had the chance to repay Mr Kemp in a unique way.

Thanks to his work as a motivational speaker and to his contacts with organisations that help people in situations similar to those experienced by Mr Kemp, Mr Reid helped the man who saved his life dealing with his mental health struggles and finding a home.

"I've just opened some doors," says Mr Reid.

"Alex's put all the hard work in himself."

Andy Reid and Alex Kemp in 2019 250219 CREDIT BFBS.jpg
Andy Reid and Alex Kemp in London in 2019.

"I'm no longer isolated... it's properly changed my life," says Mr Kemp.

"You get dark thoughts and they take over," says Mr Kemp as he recalls his days struggling with PTSD. 

"There's too many people taking their own lives in the same situation," he adds. 

"I hope this will help as many people as possible come forward and not get that far down the rabbit hole."

Now, Andy Reid and Alex Kemp hope to help other veterans in a similar situation to speak out about their problems to ensure a safer and better future after leaving the military.

"They need a hand up so that they can start moving forward," says Mr Reid.