Matt Stiles is a role model to young and old in our community. As a school guidance counselor, students look to him daily for crisis support and interventions, or as someone to listen to everyday “life problems”. As a volunteer, his efforts produce positive contributions throughout Morgan County.
Foremost, Matt is the recipient of the President’s Gold Service Award for volunteerism, the first and only adult in Morgan County to receive this prestigious recognition. This service learning achievement was for 500 hours of volunteer time.
During the year, Matt completed a certification course as a volunteer firefighter. As a member, he answers emergency calls as a medical first responder and firefighter for the Falkville Fire Department. These calls range from heart attacks, motor vehicle accidents and suicide attempts to house and structure fires.
As a member of the Board of Directors of the Volunteer Center from 2001-2004, Matt has provided expertise, vision, and sweat equity to several projects sponsored by the center. Those functions include Taste of the Valley, the annual golf tournament, the Ducky Derby, and the annual Can-a-Thon. Last years Can-A-Thon in Morgan County collected and distributed more food than the surrounding counties of Limestone and Madison.
For 2001-2005, Mr. Stiles has served as the school representative for the annual United Way pledge drive. It has been incumbent on Matt to contact each teacher at his local school during the event to educate and encourage his peers to support the community through giving to the United Way. Morgan County Schools’ overall pledges for the past few years have increased significantly.
Matt drives a school bus for various field trips at school. Since he volunteers his time as a driver, this lowers the overall cost of the trip for students. He organized a trip to the Red Ribbon March in Decatur, allowing over 60 at-risk students and chaperones from two county schools to be a part of the rally. Matt has taken students to the past four marches, held annually in October. Similarly, he volunteers his driving abilities for the annual Kids’ Day at the Hartselle Civic Center, sponsored by the American Legion, Post #52. Last year, more than 50 at-risk students visited Santa Claus and received a Christmas gift.
Having retired from the U.S Navy, Matt is a member of the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), Post #10774 in Falkville. The VFW Post is actively involved in the community, providing funds to numerous local organizations, including an annual $10,000 scholarship to the local high school. This same Post received last year’s Volunteer of the Year award for adult group.
Last year at Ryan School, Matt organized and sponsored a Junior Beta Club chapter. The school chapter has been defunct for 20 years, however, Mr. Stiles was able to involve teachers and the community in recognizing the academic and citizenship efforts of students.
Matt has served as an elected board member for the Morgan County Education Association for the past four years. This volunteer position allows him to be a liaison for his fellow teachers regarding issues of professional development, policy, pay, and benefits. Of noted importance is New Teacher Institute, where newly hired teachers are introduced into the county educational system and are supported during their initial years of teaching.
At his local church, Matt volunteers as an adult Sunday School teacher, drives the church van several months each year to allow shut-ins to attend services, and serves as chairman of the long range planning committee. He also meets others needs as a greeter before Sunday services, welcoming members and visitors alike.
Currently, Matt is on the stand-by list of therapists/case workers to volunteer with the American Red Cross, Decatur chapter, to provide relief along the Gulf Coast from hurricane Katrina. He is on a similar list as a chaplain for the North American Mission Board to assist in south Alabama. He hopes to be deployed for three weeks before year’s end to provide ongoing aide to families suffering from the storm’s effects.
Mr. Stiles’ efforts touch lives throughout Morgan County in many different ways. Whether it be through his employment or by volunteering, he is role model for our community.