CHESTER, S.D. (KELO) — The pandemic has limited all social gatherings including funerals. That means people are having to find creative ways to come together and support one another through difficult times.
Cars, trucks and ATVs lined this road to show their respects to the family of Matthew Brown. Matt, who was only 39-years-old, died unexpectedly of a heart attack on July 25.
“It really is special,” Matt’s brother Jason Brown said. “It will be fun to see all his friends, co-workers and everybody coming by. Side-by-sides, pickups, cars, whatever it is. We’ve just been hearing story after story of Matt just being around on his side-by-side swinging in talking to people. It’s what he did. It’s what he loved to do. It’s really working out perfectly.”
Because of COVID-19, the family could only have a small funeral. Now, more than 120 vehicles are passing by in a caravan to honor Matt’s life.
“I was so overwhelmed. It was insane,” Matt’s cousin Tami Drew said. “I should have expected it because of the kind of person that Matt was, but just the outpouring of love and support, just, I think we really needed it and it so appreciated from every one that came by.”
Matt’s kind-heart and friendliness can’t be replaced.
“He was just happy, he cared for people, he loved children,” Jason said. “It seemed like he actually had a group of friends that was a little bit older than him, so they had a little bit older children and they just all talked about how much Matt loved their kids and how much he meant to them.”
“I’m going to miss his wit and his charm and just his kind, good heart,” Drew said. “Always the first to show up to help anyone that needed it. Last one to ever ask for it himself. Just an all-around wonderfully, nice, nice guy.”
The family says it’s a reminder to get your heart checked, even if you don’t think anything is wrong.
“It’s a big deal. Get checked. It’s not expensive. It’s not difficult. It’s worth it,” Jason said.
“You’re the only you that’s out there, so just make sure you’re checking things out and making sure you’re doing okay. No one expects this for Matthew, 39-years-old. Never smoked. You know, just didn’t see it coming and I don’t think he did either. Stay on top of it.”
There’s a reason family decided on this date.
Carter: “It makes it even more special that you could have this on Matt’s 40th birthday.”