The American Legion, AMVETS,
Vietnam Veterans of America, Cold
Association, and Freedom
Through Vigilance Association.
years ago, Matt left what was for him the unrewarding world of
business to work full time in Veterans services.
we do, in a nutshell," Matt said, "is to outreach
homeless and incarcerated Veterans ....We get them into
transitional housing and off the streets, provide job training
and employment assistance, feed them, clothe them, get them into
recovery on site, get them into PTSD treatment, and into VA
Healthcare if required. We also listen to them in a non-judgmental
way, offering one on one counseling. I got into this work
because working in the business world did not feed my spirit.
Besides, I have a great empathy for the Vietnam Vet
organization that Matt works for is Joint Efforts, Inc., 505 S.
Pacific Avenue, San Pedro, CA 90731. The government has turned the
organization down on their application for funding for a third
year, even though it met or surpassed all its funding
requirements, and even though it was named agency of the year by
the California Employment Development Department and California
Employers Advisory Council.
putting in 14 hour days, writing grants and speaking to
potential funding groups to try and get our program back up to
full capacity. Even without full funding, we will not turn any
Vet away who is at risk," Matt explained.
Matt began his work in Veterans services, he has received six
awards for his outstanding, work and achievements,
including one for the Veterans Support Group at the Federal
Corrections Institution at Terminal Island..
first award Matt received was the June 2002 Associates Vietnam
Veterans of America Member of the Year for the State of
California. In March 2003, he was also presented with the Beacon
of Light Award by Terminal Island for his Veteran Support Group.
On July 31, 2003, Matt was presented the Chapel of Four
Chaplains Legion of Honor Humanitarian Award and the Associates
of Vietnam Veterans of America (National) Member of the Year.
There have also been various Certificates of Appreciation given
by the Employment Development Departments within the Los Angeles
weekend of 13 September 2003, Matt spent the weekend in Fresno,
with the California State Council of Vietnam Veterans of
America, acting as a special consultant to help VVA Chapters
statewide put together programs to help homeless and
made some giant strides over the past few months in these areas,
and that's what it will take...Vets helping Vets," Matt
that weekend, the VietNow Veteran Service Organization named
Matt as Chairman of their Veterans Incarcerated Committee.
like the older I get, the busier," Matt mused.
is a privilege to serve these forgotten men and women....If they
are ever to come all the way home, it will be their fellow
Veterans who bring them.
work closely with the Vietnam Veterans of America at a local,
State and National level. I also belong to five other Veteran
organizations. [We] will be linking VVA Chapters Statewide with
homeless veteran programs beginning in September." Matt
only is he a tireless and passionate advocate and speaker for
the homeless and incarcerated Veterans, Matt is also a
compelling writer. Matt has written articles for Veterans
publications both on line and in hard copy.
Matt's written works are available online at the following
Long Way Home" and
Veterans Recognition at Terminal Island" (Also
available on SENAA's
addition to working long days and nights on behalf of our
Veterans, he is also an active advocate of Indigenous American
issues. For four years, Matt has donated much time and effort to
serve as director of SENAA
West. Before that, he and Anne, his beautiful wife of 31
years, were supporters of the Black Mesa Relocation
Resistance and participated in the related "Adopt a
Grandmother" campaign to help provide food and financial
aid to and raise awareness of and
support for Dine'h (Navajo) elders at Black Mesa, Arizona, who
were and still are facing forced relocation and human rights
violations at the hands of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA),
BIA-owned Hopi Tribal Council (not an institution of the Hopi
and Peabody Coal Company.
2001, due to the increased demands of his work with Veterans and
to help with the SENAA work load, Matt chose Sara Hayes as co-director of SENAA West. In
2002, he turned over the SENAA West directorship to Sara so he
could focus on his Veterans work. Matt
remains an active member in good standing of SENAA International's SENAA
West division, a member of SENAA International's Executive
Council, and serves as consultant and advisor to Director
Davison has inspired all who know him. Indigenous Americans were honored and blessed when
Matt became a staunch advocate of
Indigenous American issues. Matt is keenly aware that Creator is
the source of his seemingly boundless energy and often expresses
his thanks to Creator for being able to do the work he does. He is as deeply spiritual as he is devoted to the
Veterans and Native Americans he champions.
seems incapable of giving less than his very best effort to any
endeavor he undertakes. It is not because of ego but because he
feels that every Veteran who comes to him for help deserves the
best he has to give. He genuinely cares about each person he
helps, and that has made all the difference.
recent conversation with Matt via e-mail, Matt summed up his
reasons for the work he does:
"For sure, there is a passion behind the work. I was
never in country, but the Vietnam Vet is of my generation and
the only era of Veterans so misunderstood and mistreated by the
nation they served. I deeply care about every Vietnam Vet, and
only want these courageous warriors to get the respect and
thanks they've earned through their service and sacrifice.
Thankfully, I have been given the opportunity to provide that
respect and those services, at least here in the West."
SENAA International family has been honored and blessed to have
Matt among us, working on issues facing today's Indigenous Americans. It has been a privilege to call him friend and brother.
Veteran's Veteran is an inspiration and superb role model in an
era when good examples are increasingly rare.