The Dragonfly Foundation’s Board members, Mark & Melissa Matson, were caught unaware at the 2017 Dragonfly Grand Gala when a video played announcing that they were the first recipients of Dragonfly’s Fourty-Four Award! Filmed in Scottsdale, Arizona at the Song Bird Coffee & Tea House, the video, featuring Mark & Melissa’s daughter, Alexandra Crawford, describes how they have empowered The Dragonfly Foundation by consistently supporting its mission, programs, and leadership team.
Recently, Dragonfly learned that the number 44 means “you are surrounded by helpful, loving angels who wish to bring you peace of mind and joy of heart.” For Dragonfly, those angels are Mark & Melissa Matson.
THE INSPIRATION FOR THE AWARD:
The award is unique, both in spirit and design. Inspired by Christine (Dragonfly co-founder) & Jim Neitzke’s son, Matt, The Forty-Four Award was created to recognize unwavering commitment, passion and enthusiasm.
Matt Neitzke was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in 2010, when he was only 10 years old. Despite being removed from home and school, suffering the physical and emotional challenges of treatment, and enduring long periods of isolation, he never let go of his dream of returning to baseball. Today, Matt is a junior pitcher for the Bombers baseball team at his high school in Cincinnati, OH — and continues to play with the same number he has had on his jersey since age 4: the number 44.
Mark Sudduth of Sudduth Glass, Cleveland Heights, OH, designed and created the award. When Matt Neitzke had to leave the last baseball he threw before he was diagnosed, the “ball” stayed in the dent it made in the ground–until he was well enough to pick it back up again. The award illustrates both moments in time, and symbolizes his determination and commitment.