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Bennie T.
Democrat MS 2

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  • Honoring Jacques Alexander Marquis Matthews

    by Representative Bennie G. Thompson

    Posted on 2013-01-15

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    THOMPSON of mississippi in the house of representatives Tuesday, January 15, 2013 Mr. THOMPSON of Mississippi. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor a remarkable 22-year-old young man from Shaw, Mississippi. Jacques Alexander Marquis Matthews has answered the call of duty to his country and is currently serving as an active soldier in the Mississippi National Guard stationed in Afghanistan.

    Specialist Matthews comes from a lineage filled with military servicemen and women. His paternal grandfather, Mr. William Carter, is a Vietnam Veteran who served in the United States Air Force; his maternal uncle, Mr. James Attaway, served in the United States Marines; and his mother, Ramona Matthews, had just enlisted in the United States Army when she learned she was pregnant with her first child, Jacques.

    Specialist Matthews was raised in a single parent home by his mother, Ramona, along with his two younger brothers, Chauncey and Malik. Specialist Matthews understood the pain of his mother as she struggled to provide for them and the reproach of his grandparents, William and Alicestean Carter and Susie Matthews. As his mother's oldest child, much was expected of him and he wanted to fulfill those expectations. But like many other young men, what appears to be quick and easy was tempting. And sometimes he was prey to those temptations. In fact he said and I quote, ``my mother was more determined than me--for me to succeed. So, she snatched me from that wrong path and told me my life had three paths it could take and I had to choose one right then, college, military, or she was going to commit a homicide and that's all I needed to know. Needless to say, I chose the military.'' Mr. Speaker, Specialist Matthews has a litany of highlights during his military career including: In 2008: Specialist Matthews enlisted in the Mississippi National Guard.

    August 2008-October 2008: Specialist Matthews did his basic training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina.

    October 2008: Specialist Matthews completed his basic training. He was recognized during graduation for having scored a perfect 300 on the physical fitness portion of the training.

    July 10, 2010-July 31, 2010: Specialist Matthews was a member of the 2089th Vertical Company, 223rd Engineer Battalion. He received the Army Achievement Medal for his Superior and Unflagging Support of his unit.

    November 6, 2010: Specialist Matthews was honored with the Commanders Award for scoring 297 on the Annual Army Physical Fitness Test while he was a member of the 223rd Engineer Battalion.

    November 7, 2010: Specialist Matthews while in the 168th Engineer Brigade received the Silver Castle Challenge Certificate of Achievement for having completed the Army Physical Fitness test with a score of 297. He was recognized for distinguishing himself by his excellent conditioning. He is truly to be commended for the accomplishment and deserving of the recognition for his sacrifice and self-discipline.

    May 2011: Specialist Matthews was in the 2089th Vertical Construction Company when he was honored with the Army Meritorious Achievement Medal for his selfless service, loyalty and honor, dedication and integrity as an example for all to follow for his significant contribution to the success of his unit and the Mississippi Army National Guard.

    October 2011-November 2011: Specialist Matthews received the Meritorious Service Award in recognition of his superior physical ability during the annual training while assigned to Detachment 1 of the 2089th Vertical Construction Company.

    May 7, 2012: Specialist Matthews' unit, the 2089th Vertical Construction Company, 223rd Engineer Battalion was activated to Afghanistan.

    I want Specialist Matthews' story to serve as one of encouragement to those who think there is no hope for change and to those who prejudge someone because of their circumstances. Specialist Matthews has expressed great interest in building an exciting career in the military answering the call at home and abroad whenever and wherever he is needed.

    Mr. Speaker, I ask my colleagues to join me in recognizing Specialist Jacques Alexander Marquis Matthews, from the Second Congressional District of Mississippi, now serving as a member of the Mississippi National Guard currently stationed in Afghanistan. As he so proudly represents the United States, I too am proud to represent him as a Member of Congress. I wish him a continued rewarding military career and a safe return home to the United States.

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