News 12 at 11, May 24, 2007
AIKEN, SC--A fundraiser was held in Aiken in honor of Marine Corporal Matthew Dillon, to establish a college scholarship in his name.
Honor, courage, and commitment; these are the core values of the Marine Corps, and core values that Corporal Matthew Dillon shared. Now a young marine has a chance to share those same values and attend college in his name.
"We live each day to honor his memory. That's all we can do. He's no longer with us." says Dillon's father Neal Dillon.
At only twenty-five years old, Corporal Matthew Dillon made the ultimate sacrifice in Iraq. He became a fallen hero, a hero that his parents still grieve the loss of everyday.
"It's a long process of healing after something like this." says his mother Lucy Dillon.
There to help the Dillon family is the Aiken community. Only five months after his passing, Aiken's Marine Corps League made sure his legacy would live on; establishing a scholarship in his name. And the Aiken Community made sure it happened, packing the seats at fifty dollars a head to contribute to the cause.
"Going to college and knowing he's there on Matt's behalf would make him or her want to accomplish great things in college because the legacy he left you wouldn't want to let that down." says Commandant Lane Parker.
An emotional night, with many overcome with tears over the loss of Corporal Dillon, and the message delivered by keynote speaker Lt. Michael Thornton. He is one of one hundred and thirteen Medal of Honor recipients living today. He says scholarships like this one is are an important step in remembering our fallen marines. "Honoring him and doing this scholarship so he'll always be known throughout this great country we call America."
A son, a brother, a marine, and now a legacy that will help children for generations to come.
"As long as you're remembered you'll never go away." adds Thornton.
Detachment 939 of the Marine Corps League the event possible. The league's goal of raising ten thousand dollars was met and exceeded.
The core is still receiving contributions from across the country for the fund, so far they estimate 12 thousand dollars raised in Matthew Dillon's name.
The next step will be to establish a board of trustees who will decide who is awarded the scholarship. They hope with the public's help that the scholarship will be given annually.