GREENVILLE — Family and friends gathered over the weekend to honor a fallen Marine through a community service program that will leave a mark on the Greenville area.
On Sunday, family and friends of Lance Cpl. Matthias “Matt” Hanson participated in an Adopt-A-Highway program in Greenville to try to make a difference in Hanson’s name.
Hanson, a Greenville resident, went to Afghanistan in January of 2010 and lost his life after being hit by enemy fire on Feb. 21, 2010.
“We all wanted Matt to know we haven’t forgot him,” said his aunt Jenny Harding. “Matt was one of many family members to join the military, and I am so proud of every one of them.”
Through the Adopt-A-Highway program, the group of about 20 people cleaned up M-91 between Sidney and Peck roads.
The family thought this type of a project to honor Hanson was important because it was a way to keep his name in the community he grew up in.
“(We wanted) to keep and honor the memory of Matt in a public place and hopefully in their minds,” said Hanson’s uncle Max Watts.
Through the stretch of M-91, a sign has been placed by the Michigan Department of Transportation with Hanson’s name that states “In loving memory of Lcpl. Matt Hanson.”
Once the sign was in place, the family had many feelings including sorrow and pride.
“I had mixed feelings,” said Hanson’s aunt Lisa Watts. “(I was) proud to see his name in a very public location and that our family could do that to honor him. (I was) sad to remember the wonderful young man that our family lost and all the memories of him.”
Hanson’s parents, Mary and Larry Huff were also filled with emotions on Sunday.
“So many people will see Matt’s name, be reminded he gave all for his country (and) that others also have given all to give back to our community,” his parents stated.
Hanson has also been honored in many other ways by his friends and family.
In September 2011, Hanson was honored with a display at The Fighting Falcon Military Museum in Greenville. Many books have been donated to not only Baldwin Heights Elementary School in his name, but to an elementary school in Kentucky.
Hanson’s sister Megan Dohn does a scholarship in Kentucky and his brothers Spc. Lowell “Paul” Hanson III and Brendan Huff does runs in his name.
“We have the greatest love, honor and pride for Matt and this is a great way to show it,” the Huffs stated.