Volunteerism second nature to SHS grad

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While all graduating seniors are each one deserving of applause and admiration, one Socorro High School graduate stands apart, not just for his academic accomplishments, but also for being civic minded.

Courtesy photo: Socorro High School Class of 2014 graduate Matthew Lassey’s volunteer work has including delivering food to Window Rock

Matthew Lassey has been volunteering since he was three years old, said his mother, Donna Lassey, “when he handed out goodie bags for a children’s health fair.”

A transplant from northern California with local ties, Lassey has been a regular volunteer at the local DAV holiday dinners, the past five Chile Harvest triathlons, United Blood Services blood drives, and Toby Jaramillo’s annual Christmas food drive, where last December he carried a frozen turkey and bag of groceries from Finley gym to Evergreen Drive.

Not only helping those in his local community, as a freshman and sophomore he volunteered with the Martin Luther King Jr. State Commission, and also traveled to New Orleans to be a Habitat for Humanity volunteer.

Lassey volunteered to help out at the Red Ribbon Multi-Cultural Run during his sophomore and junior years. In his junior year, he was selected for the Hispanic Leadership conference, and volunteered that summer at the Joy Junction homeless shelter in Albuquerque.

Lassey collected food and senior essential donations for Share New Mexico that were distributed to seniors and has collected food for Puerto Seuguro for the last six years.

This year, he also was a volunteer for Advantage Hospice, helping with their annual memorial event. Lassey also made 20 blankets as part of a youth event to make tie blankets that were provided to hospice patients for Advantage Hospice and assisted with memorial services and fundraisers for patients.

While most kids spent spring break relaxing, Lassey traveled to the Navajo Nation to deliver food and clothing at Window Rock and Navajo, N.M.

The Saturday before graduation he took time to help the city’s second annual yard sale fundraiser raise money for the Bags of Hope Project, providing seniors with essentials upon release from the hospital.

Lassey takes volunteering very personally, and gives credit to a volunteer chaplain who assisted his grandparents during a critical time at the New Mexico Heart Hospital this year. His response was to use his allowance to purchase food for the chaplain’s outreach service for homeless clients.

So what is behind Lassey’s drive to help others?

“I’ve always volunteered. It’s a habit, and something my parents, especially my mom, has always encouraged me to do,” he said. “People think that they have nothing to give if they’re not rich. But really, the best thing you can give is your time.”

Lassey plans to double major in pre-med and pre-law next year.

“He hopes to become a doctor of rural medicine and return to one those communities to which he has given his time as a volunteer,” Donna Lassey said.