Richmond Hill boy receives prestigious award for his work helping veterans

Richmond Hill boy receives prestigious award for his work helping veterans

RICHMOND HILL, Ga. (WTOC) - An 11-year-boy in Richmond Hill was recently recognized for his service in the community helping veterans.

Matthew Spearman was given the Youth Heroic Award by the Richmond Hill VFW post and city council. It’s the first time the award has been given in Georgia.

Spearman dedicates his free time giving back to his local community. He does that by helping local veterans and it’s something that seems to just come naturally.

“I just wanted to do it, because it’s the right thing to do for your local veterans,” Spearman said.

Recently, Matthew was given the award for helping set up the traveling Vietnam Veteran wall, among other things.

Matthew’s service didn’t just stop at J.F. Gregory Park when he helped move the traveling Vietnam Veteran wall, but he was also honored for his service to his community for helping homeless veterans.

As he got emotional, he says it’s something he does without thinking twice about because of his passion for veterans and those who serve.

“It felt good because our veterans shouldn’t ask us for help. We should ask them for help,” Spearman said. “One day it could be me.”

On top of a first time award, the 11-year-old received a check which he says he’s giving half back to the community, which comes as no surprise to his mom.

“He’s been like that his whole life, he’s been the most giving kid I’ve ever met, he’s constantly wanting to help everybody else and wants to give more than he receives,” Spearman’s mother, Sharon Thigpen said.

“I just wanted to give back some of the money because I felt like it was the best thing to do for our homeless veterans,” Spearman said.

“For me it was such a proud moment for me, but he is so humble that he doesn’t even realize what he’s done yet,” Thigpen said.

For some of the veterans themselves, they say Spearman has a heart of gold and they’re thankful for his willingness to give back.

“What he did was outstanding, it’s one of the feelings like I told him the day that we had the awards. I told him listen, what you do makes us veterans, even the veterans of the past understand that we made a difference,” Richmond Post VFW member Fausto Tenen said.

And it’s something they say also makes them feel proud.

“This young man here is a fine example of what we look for in the community, he’s got a big heart, he cares. I wish more people would be like him, even myself,” Past post commander, Harold Eckhoff said.

Spearman is holding his second food drive collecting nonperishable food items for veterans this Saturday at J.F. Gregory Park at 3 p.m.

“People should help others and they should be nice,” Spearman said.

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