In honor of Sergeant Thomas and with the cooperation of his family and friends, Pawsitive Action invites you to support the Big Matt Project to help train Big Matt, his litter mates and future dogs to accompany and serve the men and women who have served our country with honor and bravery.

Sergeant Matthew Jody Thomas, 27, was known as “Big Matt” to his brothers and sisters in the Army. Matt was a wonderful person with a huge heart.  He retired from the Army in 2013, after serving two tours in Iraq with his Army Unit “The Big Red One.”  Matt’s base in Iraq was attacked on June 6, 2011 and he lost five fellow soldiers: Christopher Fishbeck, Emilio Campo, Michael Olivieri, Robert Hartwick and Michael Cook. A sixth soldier, Marco Cintron died several days later. Matt returned home, but suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury. On December 10, 2013, due to medical complications from medication prescribed for PTSD, Matt passed away. Generations of veterans have served our country, leaving family and serving in harsh conditions. Some endure explosions and injuries and many have to live with post-traumatic stress.

Sonya Hightower-LaBosco, Matthew’s mother, started the Big Matt Project to honor her son.

“Matthew was my baby boy and this is a inspiring story to help bring other veterans comfort, as well as peace within.  I will never hug Matthew again and the Big Matt Project has inspired me to hug other veterans and their families during difficult times.  One of Matthew’s biggest concerns after returning home was his fellow soldiers would be forgotten for their sacrifice.  PAF is a way to make sure that doesn’t happen.”

Sergeant Thomas aka “Big Matt” would be deeply touched to know that a puppy trained by Pawsitive Action Foundation would be given to another American Hero in order to assist with their independence regardless of their injury.

Learn more about the Big Red One.


Big Matt

Big Matt, Golden Retriever; Available for a Veteran; In-training to be an Assistance Dog; Sponsored by the Big Matt Project, DAR, Commissioner Fred Hawkins.
Big Matt; Golden Retriever; Available for a Veteran; In-training to be an Assistance Dog; Sponsored by the Big Matt Project, DAR, Commissioner Fred Hawkins.
Sergeant Matthew Jody Thomas, 27, retired from the Army in 2013, after serving two tours in Iraq with his Army Unit “The Big Red One’, with an Honorable Discharge.
Army Sgt. Matthew Jody Thomas, 27, retired from the Army in 2013, after serving two tours in Iraq with his Army Unit “The Big Red One’, with an Honorable Discharge.

Oli

Pfc. Michael Olivieri, 26, of Chicago, was a field artillery tactical data systems operator who joined the Army in January 2010.
Army Pfc. Michael Olivieri, 26, of Chicago, was a field artillery tactical data systems operator who joined the Army in January 2010.
oli head shot
Oli; Labrador Retriever; Available for a Veteran; In-training to be an Assistance Dog; Sponsored by the Big Matt Project.

Cook

Cook, 27, of Middletown, Ohio, was a field artillery tactical data systems operator who joined the Army in October 2009. He has been posthumously promoted to the rank of specialist.
Army Pfc. Michael Cook Jr., 27, of Middletown, Ohio, was a field artillery tactical data systems operator who joined the Army in October 2009. He has been posthumously promoted to the rank of specialist.
Kelly and cook at the lakefront
Cook; Golden Retriever; Teammate-Navy HM1 Kelly Smith; Sponsored by the Big Matt Project.

Tron

Army Spc. Marcos Cintron, 32, of Orlando, Florida was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 7th Field artillery regiment, 2nd Brigade.
Army Spc. Marcos Cintron, 32, of Orlando, Florida was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 7th Field artillery regiment, 2nd Brigade.
Tron
Tron; Labrador Retriever/Border Collie Mix; Available for a Veteran; In-training to be an Assistance Dog; Sponsored by the Big Matt Project.

Beckett

Army Spc. Christopher Fishbeck, 24, of Victorville, Calif., was a field artillery tactical data systems operator who joined the Army in October 2009. He has been posthumously promoted to the rank of specialist.
Army Spc. Christopher Fishbeck, 24, of Victorville, Calif., was a field artillery tactical data systems operator who joined the Army in October 2009. He has been posthumously promoted to the rank of specialist.
Beckett
Beckett; Labrador Retriever; Available for a Veteran; In-training to be an Assistance Dog; Sponsored by the Big Matt Project.

Robby

Spc. Robert Hartwick, 20, of Rockbridge, Ohio, was a combat medic. He joined the Army in June 2009.
Army Spc. Robert Hartwick, 20, of Rockbridge, Ohio, was a combat medic. He joined the Army in June 2009.
Robby; Goldador (Half Golden Retriever/Half Labrador Retriever); In Training for a veteran
Robby; Goldador (Half Golden Retriever/Half Labrador Retriever); Available for a Veteran; In-training to be an Assistance Dog; Sponsored by the Big Matt Project.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Army Spc. Emilio Campo, 20, of Madelia, Minnesota, was a combat medic. He joined the Army in July 2009.
Army Spc. Emilio Campo, 20, of Madelia, Minnesota, was a combat medic. He joined the Army in July 2009.

*Coming Soon; Dog to be determined in our newest litter.

Please join us by donating to our fundraising effort so that Big Matt’s memory can live on and another service person is able to live independently and with dignity.