Rockville’s Mattie Stepanek Honored by U.S. Senate
The U.S. Senate passed a resolution Wednesday honoring the life and legacy of Matthew “Mattie” Joseph Thaddeus Stepanek, a Rockville teen who in his struggle with a rare form of Muscular Dystrophy became an inspiration to many.
Maryland Senators Barbara A. Mikulski and Ben Cardin introduced the resolution that the Senate approved Wednesday.
“The life and legacy of Mattie Stepanek continues to inspire us all as an advocate for peace whose message has reached millions around the world,” Mikulski said in a press release. “Though his death was a true tragedy, his life was a triumph. He was a gifted author and noted peacemaker. I was so touched to have met Mattie and heard first-hand his determined message of hope. I’m proud to honor Mattie and his call for hope and peace that lives on and will continue to inspire future generations.”
Mattie passed away 10 years ago from a rare form of Muscular Dystrophy and would have been 24 years old on July 17, 2014. His mother and siblings all also had the disease. His siblings died before they reached the age of four and Mattie wrote poetry, short stories and essays to deal with his grief. He became a seven-time New York Times best-selling author and a champion for peace. In 2002, he was awarded the Children’s Hope Medal of Honor, presented by Mikulski, and was later inducted into the Kids Hall of Fame.The City of Rockville also named a park in his honor.
“Mattie was a young Marylander who was an inspiration to all of us. He went out of his way to help his community and used every day of his life to make this world a more peaceful place. We can look around our neighborhoods and around the world to see the need for more voices like Mattie’s”, said Cardin in a press release. “I serve as Chairman of the U.S. Helsinki Commission and on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee; with so much global conflict there is no doubt that America and the world needs a Mattie Stepanek Peace Day.”