Matthew Freeman packed more into his 29 years than most people do in a lifetime. As a young boy, he was a “river-rat,” guiding his flat-bottomed, Jon-boat through the winding marshlands of the Ogeechee River in his Richmond Hill, Georgia home. He would often return home with wildflowers for his mother, Lisa, a schoolteacher at Richmond Hill Middle School.
As a boy, Matthew was such an avid reader that he would hide under his covers and read by flashlight long into the night. So much so that when he went away to college his mom found a huge pile of batteries under his bed.
As a Boy Scout he took upon himself to fix the town’s centerpiece gazebo when it fell into disrepair, earning him Eagle Scout honors.
He read all of Shakespeare’s works – before he went to high school. He was so well read that when he was asked, as a high school freshman, to teach sophomores about Shakespeare, his teacher explained to the skeptical upperclassmen that Matthew had read most of the works – more than once.
He was a true renaissance man. A two-time tennis champion for his high school team, a saxophonist in the marching band, Matthew sang at his high school graduation – having been nominated and accepted at the United States Naval Academy.
Matthew’s true passion though, was flying. As a young boy he fell in love with flying and went on to become a Marine pilot – the third generation of Freemans to wear Navy wings.
In 2009, he married his childhood sweetheart, Theresa Hess. Three weeks later, he opted out of the relative safety of the cockpit and volunteered for ground action when he heard the Marines needed more ground forces – in Afghanistan.
A week after he arrived, he saw something that led him to call his mother. He said, “Mom, the kids would rather have pens and paper more than anything, even food or water. Would you please start a collection and send them to me?”
Two days later, he was killed in action.
The Matthew Freeman Project: Pens & Paper for Peace was not created because Matthew is dead. Not because he died serving his country. It’s because of how he lived.
A life well spent.
A life given.