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'Matthew lives his faith'

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By The Staff

I am writing to The Lancaster News to thank a wonderful young college student by the name of Matthew Whitaker.

Many of you who attend the Second Baptist Church or dine at Charlie’s Caf or participate in the classes at Dance Works Studio may already know Matthew, but you may not know what a truly thoughtful neighbor he is.

I’m writing because I want everyone to know how well he represents his family, his church and the younger generation of the Lancaster community.

I moved to Lancaster a little over a year ago from Charlotte. In February of this year I fell at my home and dislocated my shoulder. After several months of therapy it was discovered that I needed rotator cuff surgery to repair the tear in my shoulder. As a result of the fall and subsequent surgery, I was forced to rely on others to cut my grass.

This past month with all the recent rains, my lawn had grown up to the point that the grass and weeds were almost a foot high.

My home looked as though I had abandoned it, but there was nothing I could do. It upset me terribly that I could not physically cut my own lawn. Even though several people had said they might be able to get to it, no one had actually come out.

I was getting very anxious because it had really grown to the point that it was too high and too thick to cut with a push mower. I really needed someone with a large riding mower to cut it.

Fortunately for me, Matthew is my neighbor. I had spoken with his mother, Melba, about it one weekend and told her how I was worrying about the yard. She must have mentioned it to him.

Imagine my surprise when one day the following week I came home to find that my grass had been cut. Matthew just decided that he was going to cut it because he knew how upset I was.

The thing that impressed me most about Matthew was that even though he hardly knew me, he still chose to tackle this overwhelming job.

He did it without being asked and without a promise that anyone would pay him. He simply came home from class one day and came right to my home. He had only two hours in the time between his class and work, so he could have gone home to rest.

Instead, he chose to work very hard in the hot 98 degree weather, to cut overgrown wet grass using only a small push mower. He didn’t leave a note telling me that he was the one that had cut it and never asked for any money or pats on the back after he completed the job.

His mom told me he cut it, and said that he did it simply because he knew I was so worried about it. I cannot begin to tell you what a blessing he was to me on that day.

There truly is no way to fully express my gratitude at being helped by this young man simply because he felt it was the right thing to do.

If you happen to run into Matthew, please let him know that you are as proud to know him as I am. He is a man of character and one who truly lives his faith.

Thank you, Matthew, for everything. You are amazing.

Susan Van Allen is a Lancaster County resident.