Matthew left his handprint on the heart of everyone who knew him. He will be forever loved by his parents Matthew Sr. and Kristina Legg, sister Madolyn, grandparents Dave and Patty Conner, and Rebecca Conner, and uncles and aunts Noah David and Stephanie Conner, Matt and Barbara Ging, Larry and Debbie Cencer, and Mark and Lynn Legg. His life will also be cherished by many great-aunts and great-uncles, cousins, and close family friends. Matthew has joined his recently departed paternal grandparents, Frank and Pat Legg, and maternal great-grandparents, Avria (Ebb) and Mattie Hall.
Matthew was a Kindergartner at Galax Elementary School in Ms. Robinson’s class. He wasn’t very excited about school, but loved going to be with his friends and teacher. His favorite time of the day was playtime because he loved to play all of the time. He always had a small toy in each hand, ready to play whenever he had the chance. He would have just as much fun with rocks, though – he loved to collect them, throw them in the river, and show them off to his mom. Matthew never met a park he didn’t like. He always asked to stop and play whenever he spotted a park – and his family was always happy to oblige him and his “Sissy.”
Due to medical conditions at birth, Matthew was not expected to be able to play, climb, and run. His family was actually told he would probably never walk. However, Matthew wrote “his own book” according to his doctors at UVA Medical Center. Matthew overcame 11 surgeries in his short five years of life. Many other children will benefit from what Matthew’s doctors learned while treating him. Matthew was brave, strong, and always blissfully optimistic. Even when he was in obvious pain, his response to “How do you feel?” was always the same – “better.”
It was so easy to love Matthew. He was amazing in so many ways. He was such an adoring, compassionate, and considerate child. He was thrilled and so proud to greet his mom with flowers he’d picked just for her – single dandelions – when she picked him up from his after-school program at the Galax Recreation Center. He never complained or asked why he had to do some things differently than other children. He was quick to show his affections and was genuinely excited to see family and friends. He was pleased by simple things and even the smallest endeavors made him happy. His infectiously handsome smile was always spread wide across his sweet face – it could melt the hardest of hearts. Matthew never knew that he was not supposed to play soccer or t-ball. Instead he played goalie, hit the ball and ran the bases with all his might, and was practicing with hope of joining the swim team this summer. He was an inspiration to everyone and a bright spot in every day.
Matthew rocked a pair of skinny jeans and a fedora like no one’s business. His blonde mop-top hair and shining personality made him stand out in a crowd. He enjoyed being trendy – playing Angry Birds and Skylanders, singing along to Maroon 5 in one of his many mustache shirts, and tearing up the yard in his Lightening McQueen car. He was funny and he always wanted to make others happy. Many have said that they want to live life more like Matthew did – by graciously accepting one’s self, finding the joy in what life has to offer, and allowing happiness to fill the day.
To memorialize Matthew and honor his family, a scholarship has been set up in his memory. The initial goal is $5,000 so that a scholarship of $250 can be awarded annually beginning with the 2015 graduation ceremony. Feel free to give whatever you can, whenever you can, and as often as you choose. Checks are preferred and should be made out to the Galax Foundation for Excellence in Education (GFEE) with Matthew Legg Scholarship in the memo line. If you would like to help with this scholarship, donations can be made at any of the Galax Public Schools or can be mailed directly to the Galax Foundation for Excellence in Education, PO Box 487, Galax, Va., 24333.
“If love alone could have spared you – you would have lived forever.”