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The greatest man I ever met, Matt Jones. (Born: Apr 4, 1977, Passed: Mar 31, 2016)

I consider it a privilege and blessing that I got to meet Matt in the year 2000 and basically spend 5-6 days a week with him since, as a friend, co-worker and business partner. BTW - They were the best 16 years of my life. It was like the movies. They were days filled with joy and laughter, heroes and villains, angels and demons, and many life lessons. They were days of being blessed with the best this world can offer. They are days that will be cherished for the rest of my life. Did I mention, joy and laughter? There were lots of those.

Never do anything halfway, go big or go home. Every single day Matt would do something amazing and he was usually right. I stayed in awe of how he related to the world. Even on things that would make you cringe a little, he would turn the lemons into lemonade and yep, he was right after all. But, those times were far outweighed by "wow" moments where you would say, "wow, that is really cool", "wow, how did you pull that one off", "wow, that's an excellent take on that situation", "wow, way to go, good call" and so many more. Matt faced every day with confidence, bravery and presence.

Mainly this stems from the fact, Matt possessed the most incredible social skills of anyone I have met. Whether you were the door man of a hotel, an upper level executive, a junk man coming by the business, you name it, Matt made you feel important and could relate to you. He had the perfect combination of being a great listener and having the ability to quickly understand the situation and respond perfectly. He always knew what to say, whether it required a moment of small talk or something profound, and knew it instantly. A mutual friend of ours once told me "Gene, you and I are slow smart, but Matt is fast smart." That perfectly sums it up, Matt was blazing fast smart. Throw in that infectious laugh, too. (That I can hear in my head right now.) Matt was someone people were drawn to.

With all of these great God given attributes, Matt combined them with a very generous heart. If you were the waiter who luckily got the Jones table, and did your job well, important, you were getting a huge tip. If you were the neighbor that was going to help with a project or repair out of friendship, nix that, you will be getting paid, no one works for free. If you were in need or had a fund raiser, Matt would be the biggest contributor. However, above monetary, Matt was also very generous with his time. He always made the time to talk to a neighbor or flag someone down he hadn't seen in while. If a friend came by, he would stop everything and give them full attention for as long as they wanted to hang. At work, if you were a customer who liked to shoot the bull, Matt would talk as long as you wanted, even if the call lasted an hour, Matt would be with you step by step. I'm sure his family would feel the same way as well.

Matt was an inspiration to all of the lives he touched, no matter how little or long amount of time you knew him. You can tell, all of his childhood friends looked up to him and were so proud of his success. Same goes for his current group of friends. Matt not only got along with, but was admired by so many different types of people both rich and not so rich, young and old, and from home and all over the world. He was sharp as a tack. And if it's true that iron sharpens iron, I feel blessed to have gotten to spend so much time with him. Because I am a greater man having known Matt and admired his greatness along with everyone else.

Although, the Lord decided to bring Matt home at the young age of 38, Matt's mark on the world will be long lasting and will be in our hearts forever. Matt was loved by his family as son, big brother, father and husband, many great friends, the aviation industry and people touched by his presence. The world will have a void as big as heaven will have one of the great ones returning home. On a complete personal note that Matt would appreciate from me, in NASCAR terms, we have lost Dale Earnhardt. God speed, brother. You will be missed. Rest in peace.

Gene Casey
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