Student and MCC receive generous awards in honor of alumnus and fallen hero Matt Mason

From left: Jason Key with the Matt Mason Memorial CowboyUp! Triathlon presents scholarship check to Jacob Miller

Metropolitan Community College is again honored to announce a scholarship award that celebrates the memory of an MCC-Maple Woods alumnus and a fallen hero.

Organizers of the Matt Mason Memorial Cowboy-Up! Triathlon presented a $4000 check to the college for the Matt Mason Memorial Scholarship fund and a $500 scholarship to student Jacob Miller on March 29.

Thanks to the generous donation, MCC’s fund for the scholarship now stands at nearly $20,000. The scholarship is awarded annually and its balance is thanks to money raised by the triathlon and other donors. The triathlon and the scholarship are a living tribute to fallen Navy SEAL and MCC-Maple Woods Monarchs baseball alumnus Matt Mason, who was killed in action in 2011.

About this year’s award recipient: 

Jacob Miller, a Northland native and a graduate of Staley High School, wraps up his baseball career at MCC this May. He is currently in talks with a couple of programs about where he goes next.

Miller is “greatly appreciative” of the award. “He was a tremendous guy. You don’t find guys like that,” says Miller of Mason.

Miller’s coach Marty Kilgore, who is the head of the MCC-Maple Woods Monarchs team, described Jacob as having a “work ethic next to none.”

A sentiment his mom echoed. Paula Miller is proud to  say her son’s character is a lot like Mason’s: “Like Matt, he is a good kid and a good leader.”

Jason Key, one of Mason’s original Monarch teammates and triathlon organizer, says the scholarship is a fitting tribute to his fallen friend who was “full of energy and thrived on being pushed.”

More on Matt Mason:

Mason, 37, who himself was a triathlete, was serving as a member of the elite Naval Special Operations Command (SOC) when his U.S. military Chinook helicopter was shot down in Afghanistan in August 2011.

Mason, a right-fielder on the baseball diamond for the Maple Woods Monarchs, was a 1992 Kearney High School grad. Each year, the Monarchs baseball program selects a player for the Matt Mason Award, an honor given to those who display the same spirit of service and passion for life that Mason exemplified. The award comes with the scholarship, first awarded in 2013-14. The MCC Foundation, along with Mason’s friends and family, established the scholarship to keep Mason’s name alive and to honor his memory.

The sixth annual Matt Mason Memorial Cowboy-Up! Triathlon takes place Sunday, August 6, at Smithville Lake.

Register and get more information at cowboyuptriathlon.com. MCC is a sponsor of the event.

Mason is also included in a book called “Fearless,” by author Eric Blehm. Mason was a fellow seal with the main character Adam Brown on whom, the book is based.

Contributions to the Matt Mason Memorial Scholarship can be made here.