Little boys normally grow up with their dad by their side, guiding them through the ways of the world. For the son of fallen Navy SEAL Matt Mason, however, that is not to happen, as his dad was among the Navy SEALs who perished when their Chinook helicopter was shot down in Afghanistan in August last year.
Young Mason took a big step in memory of his dad Sunday, as he threw out the first pitch at Maple Woods Community College. The gesture was significant as Matt Mason had played baseball for Maple Woods, before he went off to war as a Navy SEAL. He finished high school at Kearney High School in 1992, where he played baseball and football.
Maple Woods Community College retired Mason’s number 11 on Sunday, and set up a scholarship fund in his memory. Mason’s teammate Bobby Wisdom shared: “We just don’t want anyone to forget… It’s something that we can always come back to the field to see his name. It’s going to be permanently etched into the right field wall.”
Brian Bechtel, athletic director of Maple Woods, shared: “When we retire a jersey, it’s a special occasion but it’s usually based off a person’s athletic ability. With Matt it goes beyond that. His legacy goes beyond what he did as a baseball player. He served our country and died serving.”
The scholarship will be funded by voluntary contributions, as well as sales from dog tags. Wisdom shared further: “The scholarship will be awarded to a ball player who has the same passion that Matt did… Matt was a teammate of ours that represented what Maple Woods Community College is all about academically and athletically.”