Parents of Fallen Soldier: He Wanted to Help People Who Didn't Have Hope

CBS 58—Army Staff Sergeant Matthew Thompson, who was killed in Afghanistan August 23, will be laid to rest next week.

The 28-year-old grew up in Brookfield, where his parents still live. American Flags line the streets leading to the Thompson home, a tribute to the fallen soldier and the family he leaves behind 

“We know freedom isn't free,” said Lynda Thompson, Matthew’s mother.

Mark and Lynda Thompson say their son Matthew knew the risks; he did his research, even gave them books about the Army's Special Forces.

“I was proud of him and generally whenever he made up his mind, he was going to follow through with it,” Lynda said.

Even before putting on the uniform, Matthew excelled: An eagle scout, captain of the football team, Trombone player, honor roll student, and someone who always cared about others.

“He wanted to be a Green Beret because he wanted to help people in communities and places a long ways away, that maybe didn't have a lot of hope,” Mark said.

Matthew also kept his family on their toes.

“Keep us off base,” Mark said. “Anything to be off balance.”

“His question to me was always, ‘Hey Mama, Guess what,’ and I never knew what was gonna come out of his mouth,” Lynda added. “I could expect anything and it was always an adventure, it was always fun.”

It's the memories and faith guiding the Thompsons as they grieve.

“We're suffering, he's not,” Mark said. “And that's a big comfort.”

And they also take comfort in knowing their son lived every day selflessly, and died the same way.

“We're proud of you. You were always doing the things that you wanted to do,” Mark said of his son. “You always did it with such passion and you always loved on someone else. And we can't ask more of a son.”

The Thompsons say they’ve received support from their community and other Army families. And they are already thinking about how they can use their loss to help others.

At some point we know there’s gonna be another family that’ll need to talk,” Mark said. “That will need to have someone listen. And so, we might be the family that comes and listens. And to give them support.”

This was Matthew’s second deployment. He previously served in Iraq.

In addition to his parents, he is survived by his two younger sisters, Karen and Robyn, and his wife, Rachel.

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