Seven Years Without Matt

profound grief


Ron Kurtz, Matt’s dad, wrote today’s blog post.

May 15th, 2017 forever changed the lives of Brian, Jackie and I. It was the worst of all possible days. It was the day Matt, our beloved son and brother lost his battle with mental health. In short order, while still in shock and dealing with the worst possible grief, we were able to plan a memorial service and write our eulogies. The attendance at the service was overwhelming. Family of course, but also, so many friends, neighbors, coworkers, acquaintances, and others we did not even know. We were truly moved beyond words. 

In writing our eulogies Jackie, Brian and I agreed that I would let those in attendance know about Matt’s struggle with mental health and his schizophrenia diagnosis. We did not want people making assumptions. We wanted them to know the truth. But this was not the focal point of our eulogies. We chose to emphasize the type of person Matt was. A kind, caring, giving, sweet person. We felt proud, after giving our eulogies and hearing the eulogies of his friends, that those in attendance, and especially those who did not know Matt, left the service with a keen understanding of who Matt truly was. A young man motivated by empathy, compassion, and a genuine concern for the well-being of others. The shock and extreme grief of our loss just 2 weeks earlier, for the moment anyway, allowed us to experience a sense of happiness and pride in the kind of young man Matt was and we were grateful to be able to share that with those in attendance. 

About a year after we lost Matt, Jackie approached Brian and me with the idea of honoring Matt by establishing a website and blog that would keep Matt’s legacy as a kind, compassionate, giving person alive. She wanted to carry on his legacy by honoring deserving individuals with Kindness grants and awards. This was a great idea and in October 2018 “Matt’s Kindness Ripples On (MKRO, Inc.)” was born.

What began as a grassroots project focusing on the local community to honor local individuals with Kindness grants and awards has “rippled” during the last five-plus years beyond our expectations. As MKRO continues to grow, we are so proud of the outreach it has achieved and so grateful for the generous contributions we have received.

The Ripple Effect is defined as “the continuing and spreading results of an event or action”. This is so true with MKRO and none of this would have been possible without Jackie’s tireless efforts and the support of our donors. To date, MKRO has awarded $15,000 in Grants and Awards covering 22 states plus our latest grant winner in Tanzania, Africa. Jackie, Brian and I are so proud of MKRO’s success and we know Matt would be very proud as well. 

Ripple On!

                              “There is a road, no simple highway
                               between the dawn and the dark of night.
                               And if you go, no one may follow.
                               That path is for your steps alone.”   

                                                           – Grateful Dead “Ripple”

Is there someone who inspires you with their kindness?  Nominate them for the Matt Kurtz Kindness Award of $250.

Do you have an act-of-kindness project you want to do but need help funding it?  Submit your idea for the Matt Kurtz Kindness Grant of $500 and let us help you spread kindness.

10 thoughts on “Seven Years Without Matt”

  1. Beautiful message Ron! Sending love to you all! Thinking about how proud Matt would be of all of you❤️

  2. Hard to believe how time moves on, but memories are always there. Our thoughts are with you on these difficult days.

  3. Beautifully written, Ron! And MKRO is a continuous tribute that honors Matt.
    Your family has turned your grief into positive action.

  4. To Ron and Jackie Your hurt its me hard and I to have a full heart for me as well What hurts a child doubles the hurt to the parent. My memory of Matt is so vivid. All my love to the best son and daughter-in – law. Love u both.

  5. What a wonderful and heartfelt article Ron. This blog makes me feel closer to Matt even though I missed out on him and Brian growing up which I regret to this day. I can’t believe it has been 7 years since you lost your beautiful son and I hope that you feel peace and comfort in all great memories that you share with us. Love you all, Bev and Fred

  6. Beautifully written Ron. I feel fortunate to have know. Matt and what a wonderfully kind person he was. His memory is a blessing. Love you all

  7. Loved Ron’s memories of Matt and his reflections on the powerful impact he and your family to continue to make through MKRO. Thank you!

  8. Ron, you spoke from the heart and showed how it is best to concentrate on the positive! Thanks for sharing and for all you and Jackie do.
    Kim Klump

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