Paul Harvey is best known for his interesting “The rest of the story” radio shows where he showcased a famous person by telling little or unknown stories about them. You never knew who he was talking about until he got to the end of the story.
Well I have my own version of this:
This is Lt Col. Jack “Blackjack” Matthews. He is a retired marine who served 24 years and whose career spanned from Vietnam to Beirut to teaching at the Marine Corps War College in Quantico, Va. He played basketball for Notre Dame college. After graduating, he joined the Marines and served in Vietnam, where his foot almost had to be amputated after he triggered a booby trap.
Matthews kept his foot after begging doctors to save it. He continued to serve and ended up losing that leg in 2009 but not before it carried him across the finish line at 11 Marine Corps Marathons. For his service in Vietnam, he earned two Purple Hearts.
After his injury, he served as a peacekeeper in Lebanon, leading a unit that left just prior to the 1983 Beirut barracks bombing that killed 241 American servicemen — the deadliest day in Marine Corps history since Iwo Jima.
After he retired he continued to give back. He went back to college in his 40s and earned a Ph.D. in history from Washington State University with a focus on American foreign policy in Lebanon.
He has spent the years since his retirement speaking to over a half million marines about alcoholism and has helped a countless number of them overcome their addiction as he himself did.
I was honored to get to ‘know’ Jack over the phone several years ago when he ordered a custom beaded pipe hawk from us. Since that initial conversation 4 years ago we have talked numerous times. Jack is a very humble, honorable man who continues to give back to this wonderful country.
Last spring he asked us to make another custom beaded pipe hawk for him. He was to give this one to a comrade who he greatly respected and admired and who he was very good friends with. He gave it to him at a ceremony held in July 2016 where Dr. Matthews was the guest of honor at the Marine Corps Sunset Parade in Washington, D.C.
While in D. C. Jack called me and told me that the General he presented with the pipe hawk was very impressed and wanted to speak with me. So we talked, the General and I. He was very gracious and complimentary of the pipe hawk and thanked us profusely for the fine work. He said it would hold a place of honor in his office.
Jack called me yesterday to tell me that that pipe hawk now hangs in the General’s office at the White House.
That general is none other than the honorable General James “Mad Dog” Mattis our new Secretary of Defense!
And now you know, “the rest of the story”. 🙂