To the editor:
How do you thank hundreds of people for making special memories for one young man? One thank you at a time would take days, so I am pleased that we can use your paper to try and say thanks to all the people involved in making Matt Firm's life very special.
Matt has been going to Big Red football games for 15 years. Over the years, many coaches, players and other staff members of the team took their time to include Matt in the team.
Matt is a senior at Big Red this year and the coaching staff and team members went the extra yard to include Matt in the football team's senior night. Those memories of the seniors pushing Matt down the field before the game and through the cheerleader's run through and carrying Matt and his wheelchair back up the field above their heads will long live in his heart and ours. After the game, when the team again pushed Matt down the field and gave him the football to cross the goal line, may not have been an official touchdown in the record books but it sure was a touchdown to us. The trip back up the field with his team mates again carrying him above their heads brought many smiles and yes, a few tears.
First we need to thank Coaches Reno Saccoccia, Anthony Pierro, Rick Camiletti and all the other coaches for always including Matt and giving him the same scolding for misbehaving as any other player. The hundreds of Big Red football team members over the years who took time from their busy teenager lives to stop and talk to Matt also earned a well deserve thanks.
When Matt's dad passed away way too soon, Matt's Uncle David Starliper stepped forward to take care of Matt on the field before the game and in the press box during the game. He sure deserves a special "thank you. Matt's cousin, Chris Starliper, No. 75 on Big Red's team, who always is there to lend a hand with Matt and look after him, deserves thanks as well.
A special thanks to Aly Cohen for the segment about Matt.
Matt's sister, Ashley, who is going to graduate from the University of Pittsburgh this spring as a pharmacist, has been there for Matt his entire life. Thanks, Ashley.
And then there is Matt's mom, Debbie Firm, who is the driving force behind everything. Nothing is too hard or takes too much time for her not to do it for Matt and our entire family. It has been said that God gives special children to special people and he sure did this time. Thanks, Debbie, for just being Debbie and always there.
On behalf of Matt Firm's family, thanks to the entire Big Red nation for always caring. We send our deepest appreciation for all that everyone has done for Matt and we are sure will continue to do for Matt.