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Thursday, October 12, 2006

THE MATTHEW SHEPARD STORY













Matthew was prematurely born on December 1, 1976 in Casper, Wyoming, the oldest son of Judy and Dennis Shepard. Matthew attended Crest Hill GradeSchool, Dean Morgan Junior High in Casper. His sophomore year he attended Natrona County High School. The last two years of high school he spent in Lugano, Switzerland. There he attended The American School in Switzerland(TASIS), graduating in 1995. While in Switzerland, Matthew traveled throughout Europe. He spoke three languages: English, German and Italian. He loved Europe but also loved his hometown of Casper. After coming back to America, Matthew attended Catawba College inSalisbury, N.C, and Casper College. Moving to Denver he worked several jobs. Later he was attending the University of Wyoming in Laramie. There his major was political science/foreign relations and the minors were languages. Matthew was selected as the student representative for the Wyoming Environmental Council, and was very active in politics. Matthew started acting in community theatre at the age of 5, and was veryactive in front of and behind the scenes in several Casper College and Stage III Theater plays. Matthew also enjoyed soccer, swimming, running, snowskiing and dancing. He knew he was not the best athlete in the world but he had a very competitive spirit. Matthew loved the nature, enjoying hunting, fishing and camping. Matthew was a member and an acolyte in St. Mark'sEpiscopal Church in Casper, Wyoming. Matthew was lured from a campus bar shortly after midnight on October 7 bytwo men (Aaron McKinney, 22 and Arthur Henderson, 21) who told him they were gay. He was driven to a remote area near the Sherman Hills neighborhoodeast of Laramie, tied to a split-rail fence, tortured, beaten and pistol-whippedby his attackers, while he begged for his life. He was then left for dead in nearfreezing temperatures. A cyclist who found him on Snowy Mountain ViewRoad at 6:22 pm, some 18 hours after the attack, at first mistook him for ascarecrow. He was unconscious and suffering from hypothermia. His face was caked with blood, except where it had been partially washed clean by tears. Matthew died at 12:53 am on Monday 12th October 1998, at Poudre ValleyHospital in Fort Collins, Colorado, with his family at his bedside. Hospital officials said Matthew had a fracture from behind his head to just in frontof his right ear and a massive brain stem injury which affected his vital signs, including his heart beat, body temperature and other involuntary functions.There were also approximately a dozen small lacerations around his head, faceand neck. He was so badly injured in the attack that doctors were unable to operate. He never regained consciousness after being found, and remained on full life support. Matthew's funeral was held on Friday, October 16, 1998, touched a lot of peopleall over the world. The tragic story of this gentle soul has touched the hearts of people across America, and throughout the World. "Matthew was the type of person, that if this had happened to another person,would have been first on the scene to offer his help, his hope and his heart tothe family. We should try to remember that because Matt's last view minutes of consciousness on earth may have been hell, his family and friends want more than ever to say their farewells to him in a peaceful, dignified and loving manner. Once again, I must express our appreciation for the outpouring of concern about Matt's wellbeing during the last week, as he fought for his life in the hospital. We'll never forget the love that the world has shared with this kind, loving son."- Statement of Matthew's father; after Matthew's death. After his death, Matthew's parents founded the Matthew Shepard Foundation www.MatthewShepard.org The goals of the Matthew Shepard Foundation include supporting diversity programs in education and helping youth organizations establish environments where young people can feel safe and be themselves. The Matthew Shepard Foundation's primary goal is to educate and replace hate with understanding, compassion and acceptance. Matthew's mother, Mrs. Judy Shepard, travels throughout the United States speaking at businesses, colleges, universities and high schools in an effort to educate young people about how to erase hate, and on the acceptance of diversity.









October 16, 1998: A memorial service is held for Matthew Shepard at 1:30 at St. Mark's Episcopal Church, in Casper, Wyoming, where Shepard was baptizedas a teenager. Only relatives and a select group of his friends are allowed to mourn his loss inside St. Mark's, although the events are being piped in to a nearby church. Another crowd waits with cameras and production trucks from Dateline NBC, CNN, Good Morning America, the Associated Press among others waiting topounce on any of the days events. Inside, one of Matthew's cousins reads a poem "Matthew" in tribute:









An angel with new wingsIn a place a world away






Can once again begin to sing






God took him in his arms today.






He blessed his soul with loving care






And took away his pain






His life story all would share






His memory on their hearts a stain.






So young a heart destroyed






For a cause unforgotten






Another's mind deployed






The result of a tragedy rotten.






The tragic hero that's hard to find






A martyr with great courage






God's lamb in rare design






Never to be discouraged.






Our love for him forever strong






His image will never fade






We'll meet him again before long






Temporary good-byes we now must bade.






Matty, I love you with all of my heart






I wish you only knew how much






You'll be happier with this brand new start






The world's hearts you have now touched.





Tuesday, 3 am





Tuesday, 3 am Once again I’m wide awake.


Waiting for this time to mend this heart of mine,


That keeps on breaking.


Newspapers I throw away


Wash the dishes in the sink 3am,


on Tuesday I have to much time to think.


I could call out to heaven


I could crawl down through hell


Nothing will change the way the way they are,


and nothing every will


He thinks I can’t hear him cry


And I pretend I don’t know all about the 3 am’s he spend wrestling with your ghost.


I hear him call out to heaven,


I watch him crawl down through hell


He still can’t get over youI know he never will


Nothing he says can bring you back


He’s got nothing left to show


But a pocket watch and memories


For that kiss out in the snow I hear him call out to heaven,


I watch him crawl down through hell


He still can’t get over you


I know he never will


I hear him call out to heaven,


I watch him crawl down through hell


He still can’t get over you I know he never will.

...The Last Days Of Matthew Shepard : October 12...On this morning in 1998: Matthew Shepard's blood pressure begins to drop around the stroke of midnight. His family is notified immediately and they are at his bedside when he passes away at 12:53 AM. Last rites are delivered by a local Episcopal priest.The news reaches the press at 4:30 AM, and hospital president Rulon Stacey reads a prepared statement from the family. Judy Shepard suggests that everyone "Go home, give your kids a hug and don't let a day go by without telling them you love them... Matthew's last words to us (before we left for Saudi Arabia) were, 'I love you.'" (THIS STORY TOUCHES THE VERY CORE OF MY SOUL AND I HAD TO LET IT BE KNOWN; I KNOW THAT HIS DEATH WASN'T IN VAIN & I KNOW HE KNOWS THAT HE MADE A CHANGE IN THE WORLD)

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