Sergeant Matthew Harvey, affectionately known to friends as Matt, was a loving husband, a devoted father, and a dedicated soldier decorated with two Purple Hearts when he died tragically at the age of 29.
Several Close Calls
The Cy-Fair High School graduate was deployed to Iraq three times, suffering a bullet to the head on one occasion. His Kevlar helmet saved him, but his wife Crystal can’t forget his phone call regarding the mission to clear roadside bombs. “He told me ‘Don’t freak out, but I got shot in the head, and I’m okay,’” she says.
On his third deployment, his appendix ruptured, and while calling to assure Crystal he was fine post-surgery, his lung collapsed. After surviving those situations, Matt was involved in a fatal car accident in Stuttgart, Germany on temporary duty. Winter’s black ice and a speeding automobile had caused serious harm to a vehicle carrying Matt and two other soldiers.
Crystal explains that when military personnel return to duty, wives return to their routine of life alone, but with the expectation of waiting for a loved one to come home. For her, that cycle was interrupted with tragedy.
Matt was tasked to the 10th Special Forces group out of Fort Carson, CO as a construction supervisor. His natural ability for precision engineering developed from his struggles in high school. Woodshop provided a positive outlet and his drive saw him through four years of competitions to win the Golden Hammer and a stack of ribbons for state honors.
His mother, Vicky Jordan, has a roomful of finely crafted furniture to prove it. “Matt did the same with his military service as a paratrooper and as part of combat – there was none better,” she shares. “He lived life to the fullest.” Matt was driven and high-spirited. “The only time he was still was when he was asleep. He left some big shoes to fill,” she adds.
Matt’s dad, Bill Harvey, agrees. Matt was unbelievably considerate in candid conversations with his soldiers, but if there was any way to make a situation fun, Matt would find it. In Matt’s early days in the Army, the drill sergeant shouted at Matt and his fellow soldiers in formation at the end of their training. They were ragged and dog-tired, and the sergeant encouraged the men to look to him for everything, saying to see him as their mother and father.
“Well,” Bill laughs, “Matt wanted to lighten the mood and knew there would be consequences, but he said, ‘Dad, can we have a dog?’”
Strong Texas Roots
Though Matt’s unit deployed from Colorado, he remained a proud Texan. His sister, Rev. Amanda Davis, confesses that her brother’s three loves were family, the military, and a tie between Texas and football. She admits, “He had deep Texas pride and every soldier in Colorado knew it, too. Matt loved to hassle and tease, but he was a friend to everyone.”
Crystal shakes her head, thinking of her hard-working and hardplaying husband. She is proud of him for achieving the rank of Sergeant First Class (E-7) in 10 years. Their son, Hunter, has grown into a sturdy boy, and already shows some of his father’s characteristics. Like Matt, when he is excited, Hunter shuffles his feet, winds up his hands, and rakes them through his hair. And, he gives his mama one of his dad’s goofy looks. CFM