When I first met Wilson Mathews III more than two years ago, we instantly bonded over missing New York City.
We are both Texans who found ourselves in the Big Apple, and then back in Texas — Killeen specifically.
As a public affairs and marketing coordinator for the Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation, Mathews served as my media escort for an event, and afterward we got to talking about how much we missed city life — walking past window decorations on Fifth Avenue, taking the subway late at night and getting whatever you want delivered at any time.
Over time, we’ve continued to get to know each other through work. Mathews is always positive, upbeat and willing to help me with an article. But I had no idea what a big heart Mathews had for the Fort Hood community until I started to see his smiling face at events where he wasn’t representing MWR, but just himself.
When I went to the Fort Hood USO volunteer appreciation lunch, Mathews was there. I had no idea he was spending his weekends at the center handing out snacks to soldiers and working the front desk.
Then I went to the Fort Hood Red Cross volunteer appreciation dinner, and there he was again. I still haven’t asked him in what capacity he works with the Red Cross, but the fact that he never mentions it shows the selflessness of his actions.
I’ve also learned Mathews is part of the Rotary Club and spends time with his “little” as part of the Big Brothers and Big Sisters program.
People like Mathews amaze me. In my job at the paper, I’m often on the outside peeking into these programs. I see the good they offer.
With every story I write, I tell myself I’ll go to the training to become a volunteer, and yet, somehow I let my life get in the way and never make it happen.
Mathews, on the other hand, has such a big heart. He is more than willing to spend a precious Saturday afternoon helping others and making this community a better place.
Not only does he leave a lasting impression on everyone he meets or volunteers with, he inspires them to do more.
Contact Rose L. Thayer at email@example.com or (254) 501-7463. Follow her on Twitter at KDHmilitary.