Carnegie Medal awardee was a wonderful child, an extraordinary young man
By Janet D. Hattaway
I am the proud mother of a man, Matthew Ray Hattaway, who has been recognized by the Hero Fund for his outstanding act of heroism. Matt was awarded the Carnegie Medal in March for his attempt to save a teenage boy from drowning in the Gulf of Mexico at Fort Morgan, Ala., on June 9, 2013. He lost his life that day, but another precious life was spared.
It gives me great pride to share with others that Matt received this honor. As a grieving mother, my biggest fear was that my child would be forgotten, but the generosity of the Hero Fund and having the medal with its exquisite design detailing his honorable act ensure that he will be remembered. Future generations will see his name and know he lived and died as a hero.
Matt was born in 1988, the oldest of my three children. He was a wonderful child, grew into an extraordinary young man, graduated from high school with honors, and was a graduate of the University of Louisiana at Monroe. After college he went to work for a construction company as a foreman and was the inspiration behind the company’s first annual employee of the year award for outstanding performance and dedication. Matt received that award in 2012. He was to be married to Jessica Richardson in April 2014; it was Jessica’s younger brother whom Matt tried to save. Jessica’s mother said of Matt, “He is the kind of man a mother dreams about for her daughter and the type of man most men desire to be.”
As his mother, I know how deserving Matt is of this award, but with your recognition others who never met him will also know. Along with the Carnegie Medal, we have received an acknowledgement from our governor, Bobby Jindal, and a letter from U.S. Rep. John C. Fleming, M.D. It is overwhelming and warms my heart that so many now know the name Matthew Ray Hattaway. As I read the accounts in the book A Century of Heroes and imPULSE, I feel it is my honor that his name has been added to a list of other deserving extraordinary people who acted with bravery and selflessness in a time of crisis to save another.
(Note: Ms. Hattaway references Matthew 6:9-13—which corresponds to the June 9, 2013, date of her son’s death—as containing the Lord’s Prayer in the New Testament.)