Martin Mathews to retire after more than 50 years at Mathews-Dickey Boys and Girls Club

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End of an Era at Mathews-Dickey Boys and Girls Club Mike Bush

St. Louis (KSDK)-

It may be quiet on the outside but as we all know it's what's on the inside that counts.

These are the kids of Mathews-Dickey Boys and Girls club where they're taught the three R's.. Respect, Restraint, Responsibility.

"Look if you work hard, do the right thing, you can achieve, "explains Mathews-Dickey co-founder Martin Mathews.

The 88 year old Mathews co-founded the club and a walk through the Hall of Fame room is like a walk through St. Louis history.

It all started in the summer of 1960 when Mathews and the late Hubert "Dickey" Ballentine got together with a shared concern. To keep young men off the streets with organized sports.

"When I took on this thing they said you've got to be crazy to take on a task like that, "recalles Mathews.

The club opened it's doors in 1960 and a short time later it was bursting at the seams.

"In 1965, we went from 5 teams to 75 teams< 'laughed Mathews.

Since then, Martin Mathews has helped to guide countless lives.

"I was 9 years old when I started here and I've been here ever since< 'says the Rev. Earl Nance Jr.

Reverend Nance says Mathews was like a second father to him, keeping him on the right path.

"Think about how much worse would it have been if not for Mathews-Dickey boys and girls club. All the lives that he's touched to get out of trouble and to stay out of trouble, "Nance said.

As the club's reputation grew so did the notable guests. From vocalists to Vice-Presidents. Martin Mathews is grateful to them all but there's one guest he says was most memorable.

"Well, number one would have to be Ronald Regan, "says Mathews. "He came here in 1982."

President Ronald Reagan stopped by in the summer of 1982 and even modeled a Mathews-Dickey hat and shirt.

"Not only did he do that, he sent us back six figures to finish a stadium we were doing. All that he did without even asking him, "says Mathews.

After more than 50 years of helping the men and women of tomorrow by being in their lives today, there's something still troubling Martin Mathews. He hasn't been able to help ALL kids.

"I think that's troubled me more than anything to see kids falling through the cracks, " he said. "Everyday, kids want to do something with their lives but you have to have resources to get it done."

You get the impression that even though Mathews will retire next year, he won't be able to walk away.Time for yourself always comes second when you've spent a lifetime of putting kids first.

"What you do for yourself will die with you, "he reminds us. "And what you do for others will live forever."

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