I've written many times about Matt. Today I'd like to remember Matt by sharing an excerpt from a prior blog post, photos and links to some of the many stories written about him. Most of all I'm sending my love to his widow, Daniela, his parents, Terry and Cheryl, his brother and sister in law, Stan and Becky and to those who served with him as well as the legion of extended family and friends whose lives he touched in such a deep and positive way.
We miss you so much, Matt.
Matt's Memorial Service in Afghanistan
Matt's final ride home from the airport
Rest in Peace, Matt
The Fallen Heroes Memorial Foundation erected a Memorial in Matt's hometown of Cheboygan, Michigan. Their story about the dedication of the monument is here
Cheryl and Terry Blaskowski with the motorcycle they had custom painted for Matt. They were going to give it to him after OEF VIII deployment. The name of the bike is "War Torn". Matt's parents gave the bike to their son, Stan, who rides it in honor of his brother.
Keith Youngs of Youngs Woodcarving carved a beautiful memorial to Matt which sits next to his parent's business in Cheboygan, MI. Story here and additional story here
From the first post I ever wrote about Matt:
"In an email he wrote to me on 8 August 2007 Matt said, “Sorry I have not been able to send you a thank you. I came to a base with internet for a few days and then back out to the firebase I will go. Thank you so much for all of the packages. The soldiers and I appreciate everything greatly. Everything you send is perfect nothing goes to waste. I will try and write once a month and give you an update on our conditions here. We recently got a generator out there so we have power for a few hours everyday. We get mail about twice a month by air. It's like Christmas every time and most of the packages by far are from you. The name of my platoon's base is called Firebase Vegas. We are slowly but surely making it better. I have a lot of pictures of the Soldiers that I will try and send to you next time I get to the internet. Thank you again for all of your packages. Also thank the people that are in contact with you who also send us things. The Soldiers and I appreciate everything you do for us and we try to write a letter at least every time we get mail, but we only get to send out mail when someone carries all the letters out to mail them and that does not happen very often. Thanks again for all of your support.”
I emailed a response to Matt that it was our honor to provide support to him and his men. I told him that we believe it is our job (an easy one) to provide support because they are doing the difficult job by fighting those who would rather see this nation in chaos and ruin. I told him we knew they were making great progress and to keep up the good fight but to stay safe. Then I told him more boxes were on the way and reminded him of how grateful we were for him and his men. That was my last correspondence with Matt. It has been a long time since I have been as sad as I was when I received the email from the HHC at Camp Blessing telling me of Matt’s death. Even though I had never met him I knew from the correspondence I had with members of the 173rd as well as from reading accounts of his service on the internet that he was a special human being.
Our prayers along with our deepest and most sincere condolences go out to Matt’s wife, parents, brother, extended family and friends and to his comrades left behind. There is no way to adequately express our thoughts at this time. If one takes the time to read about SFC Blaskowski on the internet one finds story after story about the man he was. He lived his 27 years as a shining example of what humanity should be. It is apparent that Matt touched the lives of anyone who met and knew him in any capacity. He was the best of the best. He lived a selfless life in many ways – one of which was his choice to serve this nation as a member of the United States Army – to defend our freedom and continue to ensure our safety and security. Matt gave his all for us. This nation owes more to SFC Matthew Blaskowski than we could ever give. May his family know that we grieve with them in this time of sadness and loss and that we are thankful for the man he was. May they find comfort in remembering all that Matt was, all that he did and all that he gave throughout his life.
Rest in peace Matt. Our prayers are with you. I know the gates of heaven were standing wide open when you passed through and the angels were there to meet you."
Links to stories about Matt:
UpNorthLove dot com (local Michigan newpaper)
Blackfive Someone You Should Know Part 1 (photos and pictures from OEF VI as well as video of Matt in his hospital bed at Landstuhl hospital)
Blackfive Someone You Should Know Part 2 (great stories and photos)
We love you and miss you, Matt. We will NEVER EVER forget you and the amazing man you were. Sending extra love to your family and battle buddies today.