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March 4, 2014
Navy SEAL and Northwest Missouri State University alumnus Matt Mason ’98 was killed, along with his SEAL team, on a mission in Afghanistan in August 2011. As a way to preserve Mason’s memory, his friends and family organized the Matt Mason Memorial “Cowboy-Up!” Triathlon in Smithville.
“Matt’s example of service reminded us to always do for others that cannot do for themselves and pick yourself up after each time you fall,” said Steve Zimmer, a 1997 Northwest alumnus and triathlon organizer.
In its second year, organizers had more than 380 participants and raised $17,000. All money raised assists charities in the Kansas City area as well as the Northwest Foundation.
Since Mason was a Delta Chi and played baseball at Northwest, the Matt Mason Cowboy-Up Scholarship has been established to support a Northwest sophomore or junior who is involved in a fraternity or sorority as well as other organizations on campus. Students must have a minimum 2.75 GPA to be eligible for the $2,500 award, and preference is given to students from the Kansas City area.
“Matt was generous in spirit in everything he did. Those who were fortunate enough to have known Matt or to have crossed paths with him will always remember him as a loyal, kind, generous, unassuming man,” Zimmer said.
After graduating from Northwest, Mason enlisted in the U.S. Navy and, following Recruit Training, reported to Coronado, Calif., for Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUDS) training. After six months of physically grueling training, he graduated and became a Navy SEAL. In his 12 years of military service, Mason earned many awards as well as the deepest respect and trust of his fellow SEAL team members.
“Matt possessed admirable values like trust, honor, humility and integrity. The SEALs provided him the outlet he needed to further grow and to let so many of his great qualities shine,” Zimmer said. “He embodied the best in all of us. He was a son, a husband, a father, a friend, a triathlete and a teammate, and he was generous in spirit in everything he did.”
Mason’s widow, Jessica Boynton Mason, is a 2000 Northwest graduate.
Each year, the memorial triathlon takes place the first weekend of August, and more information is available at www.cowboyuptriathlon.com.
To contribute to the Matt Mason Cowboy-Up Scholarship, contact the Northwest Foundation at 660.562.1248 or email@example.com.
Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
firstname.lastname@example.org | 660.562.1704 | Fax: 660.562.1900
Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468