Mateo Martin, a high school student in Decatur County, has had to face some extraordinarily hard circumstances.
As a teenager, he has grieved the loss of both of his parents. He is currently living with his uncle, Diego Francisco, and other family members who work very hard to ensure that he is given as many opportunities as any other student. Mateo has been riding a bike that was given to him as a “hand-me-down” that was old and too small for him to travel back and forth to school each day.
With a positive attitude, Mateo says that no matter what he wants to finish school in honor of his parents and continue to make them proud of his accomplishments. Dr. Vivian Burke, ESOL teacher for Decatur County Board of Education, works with Mateo.
“He is a joy to teach and is always eager to learn. He comes in to the class with a mega-watt smile and makes my day. He knows my Spanish can be rusty at times and is always so positive when reminding me how to appropriately translate from English to Spanish. I remind him that he is a strong leader. He is always so patient and polite,” Burke told Mrs. Amanda Boyett, teacher at Potter Street Elementary School.
She explained the loss of his parents and the need that Mateo had for a new bicycle to get back and forth to school. Mrs. Amanda Boyett immediately contacted her husband, Sergeant Brian Boyett with Bainbridge Public Safety.
“There was no doubt in my mind that I knew we would help this young man. As a law enforcement officer, our job is not solely handling criminal situations. Bainbridge Public Safety does various community activities throughout the year, such as Shop with a Cop. We want to help our community members. For me, that meant ensuring that this young man had a safe way to get back and forth to school,” Sergeant Brian Boyett describes as he prepared to surprise Mateo with an early Christmas present, a new bicycle.
“Christmas is a time to give back. When my wife told me the story of this young man all I could think of was how I could help him. Mateo was so grateful for his Christmas surprise, he wanted to give me a hug as we took our picture. For me, there is no greater gift than to bring happiness to this young man during the holidays.”
It is a time to be thankful for all the blessings that you have been given throughout the year and to remember that giving during the holiday season embodies the true meaning of Christmas.
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