Fallen hero to be honored by friends, former teammates at Monarchs tribute ceremony

Matt Mason was a standout athlete, a loving husband and father, a caring friend and an elite Navy serviceman. So, when Mason was killed in the line of duty last fall, his friends, family, former teammates and fellow Navy SEALs suffered a tremendous loss. And MCC lost a heroic member of its alumni.

So, this spring, Mason’s friends, family and former teammates will come together at MCC-Maple Woods to honor his life, his athleticism and his service to our country.

Mason, an MCC-Maple Woods alumnus and former player on the Monarchs baseball team, was serving as a member of the elite Naval Special Operations Command (SOC) when his Navy SEAL team was involved in a fatal helicopter crash in Afghanistan in August 2011.

On Sunday, April 15, SOC Mason’s friends and family, along with the MCC-Maple Woods Monarchs, will pay tribute to the fallen hero at a ceremony where the former right-fielder’s jersey number will be permanently retired. The event is part of a broader fundraising and awareness campaign established by Mason’s friends Jason Key and Bobby and Brandi Wisdom that will raise money to create a scholarship in Mason’s name through the MCC Foundation.

The passion and tenderness with which Mason’s friends and family tell his life story make it clear that he is more than deserving of praise and recognition.

After graduating from Kearney High School in 1993, Matt enrolled at MCC-Maple Woods (then called Maple Woods Community College), where he was a leader on the baseball team for two years. He then went on to Northwest Missouri State University, where he was an active member of the Delta Chi fraternity. 

“During Matt’s high school and college days, he was a gifted athlete and succeeded in both football and baseball,” said Bobby Wisdom, an organizer of the tribute event who played baseball with Mason at Maple Woods. “Matt was a loyal teammate whose work ethic, dedication, and passion inspired everyone around him to be better and work harder.”

After graduating from Northwest with a Bachelor of Science degree, Matt enlisted in the United States Navy in 1999. He graduated from Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUDS) training after completing months of physically grueling and demanding drills and exercises, and was assigned to SEAL Team Three. In November 2004, while Matt was a sniper assigned to Marine Patrol in Fallujah, Iraq, his unit was involved in heavy fire fight with Iraqi insurgents and Matt was severely injured by a mortar round. Numerous surgeries and months of physical therapy later, Matt recovered from his injuries.

Soon, was selected to compete for a slot at the Navy Special Warfare Developmental Group, otherwise known as the Naval Special Operations Command (SOC). In 2006, Matt began the selection and training process with this elite group. He endured seven months of the most intense training offered in the military, and upon successful completion, he reported to Naval Special Warfare Tactical and Development Group. Matt was now part of the top tier of US Military Special Forces. 

SOC Mason completed numerous deployments around the world and combat deployments to Afghanistan and Iraq. In his nearly twelve years of service, this brave warrior earned many awards for his dedicated service to our country.

“Matt possessed a great love for life’s adventures and this passion was contagious,” said Wisdom. “He impacted many lives, including those who never had the honor of meeting this great man. Matthew Mason was a remarkable husband, a dedicated father, and a loyal friend and teammate.”

MCC was honored to have been approached by the Wisdoms and Jason Key about planning a jersey retirement ceremony in Mason’s honor and to help establish a scholarship in his name. On Sunday, April 15, 2012, immediately prior to a Monarchs baseball game, Mason’s family and friends, along with MCC-Maple Woods and the Monarchs baseball team, will honor the former student athlete and Navy SEAL by retiring his #11 Monarchs jersey.

Prior to, during and after the event, Key and the Wisdoms, as well as MCC bookstores, are selling personalized military dog tags to raise money to fund the Matthew Mason Memorial Scholarship. The scholarship will support a second-year Monarchs player who has shown great leadership, dedication, passion, and heart, both academically and athletically. These character traits are what Matt’s family, friends and acquaintances will forever remember him by, Wisdom said.

Additional details about the April 15 tribute event can be found at the “Maple Woods Baseball Honors Matt Mason 4/15/12” event page on Facebook.

Additional details about the Matt Mason Memorial Scholarship, including an opportunity to support the scholarship by purchasing a memorial dog tag, can be found at any MCC campus bookstore, on the Facebook event page or by contacting Bobby Wisdom at bwisdom5061@hotmail.com. To make a tax-deductible donation directly to the scholarship fund, visit the MCC Foundation’s Matt Mason Memorial Scholarship page.

SOC (SEAL) Matthew David Mason
March 26, 1974 – August 6, 2011
May he rest in peace, with our gratitude