Honor Lives On
● By Style
Photo by Dante Fontana
The photo of Army Specialist Mathew Taylor speaks of a strong, resolute young man ready to defend his country.
This handsome man – strong jaw, steely gaze, flawless uniform – as captured by the camera, shows a brave solider ready for action. He voluntarily listed in the service to honor the memory of his dad, Richard, who had been killed in a car accident two years before.
However, no personal determination could prevent an improvised explosive device (IED) attack on the Humvee he and four military brothers were occupying. His vehicle was targeted by rebel forces within a caravan on a dangerous road in Afghanistan. The other courageous Americans in the Humvee were First Sergeant Michael Curry, Sergeant Travon Johnson, PFC Adam Davis and PFC Jessy Rogers, each killed instantly. Mathew, mortally wounded, fought for his life for nearly two months. With his mother, sister and best friend by his side, the 21-year-old warrior passed away at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas.
Patty Taylor’s son made the ultimate sacrifice for his country. But no matter how honorably your child is taken from you…the reality is your child – your only son – is dead. How do you carry on?
Scottish poet Thomas Campbell gave grieving families some comfort when he wrote, “To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die.” Taylor and her daughter Heather found a way to keep Mathew’s memory alive in their hearts and in the hearts of others.
To honor her son’s memory, they established the SPC Mathew Taylor Wounded Warrior Organization. Their mission is to help other military families in their time of need. “When Mathew was injured, so many people helped us,” Taylor explains. “My daughter and I wanted to give back.” Due to the kindness of strangers, Taylor was able to be at her son’s side the entire time he was in the hospital so far away from home. “I didn’t have to worry about money,” Taylor says.
Their non-profit organization helps local soldiers and military families in so many ways. Our troops come home and are sometimes unable to find work and their finances can be in chaos...so Taylor helps out. It is the simple things in life they need the most, like paying for propane gas to provide a family heat or grocery store gift cards so their families can eat. “If any military family needs financial help,” Taylor explains, “that is what we do.”
Not only does the Mathew Taylor WWO help when our troops return home, they also send care packages overseas. “It is amazing what they really want and need over there,” Taylor says. Baby wipes and cans of compressed air are highly prized. “Showers are limited and everything gets so dusty,” Taylor explains. She uses donated funds to buy and ship these and other toiletries to our young men and women serving in the Middle East.
For more information, visit spcmathewtaylorwwo.com.
Patty Taylor and Irene Zakar, owner of Spoiled Rotten Women’s Boutique and Gallery (3330 Cameron Park Drive, Suite 1000, Cameron Park), have teamed up to collect all things needed for our troops.
Please bring by your donations to the store anytime during the year. Patty will make sure they are sent to our troops right away. For information on the most urgently needed items, visit spcmathewtaylorwwo.com.