Family, friends, teachers and coaches of the late Matthew Gwaltney packed the bleachers and surrounded the Thomas Dale Knights’ baseball field for a dedication ceremony that will forever honor Gwaltney’s leadership and hard work. Before Thomas Dale’s game against Hopewell on May 1, Thomas Dale principal Pam Lumsden and former varsity baseball coach Dale Clark unveiled a plaque that commemorates Gwaltney’s legacy and officially names the Knights’ field Mathew Gwaltney Field.
“Makes me proud and reminds our family who Matt was; he was very focused, very determined, very driven and gave back to his community.” said Mathew’s father Greg Gwaltney. “The dedication really honors every attribute that Matt possessed.”
Matt Gwaltney was killed in the Virginia Tech mass shooting on April 16, 2007, just weeks before receiving a Master’s in Civil and Environmental Engineering. He was a pitcher for the Knights and sports reporter for the Knightly News. After graduating sixth in Thomas Dale’s Class of 2001, Gwaltney went onto graduate Magna Cum Laude from Virginia Tech, receiving a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering.
“So many futures were cut short on April 16, 2007; naming the field after Matt Gwaltney will pass on all of Matt’s qualities to the students and players that follow him.” said Clark.
Clark hopes to come out every year to tell players about who Matt was and why the field is named after him, hoping that other players will follow his lead.
The plaque reads “Matt Gwaltney Field. He encouraged and inspired all who he knew,” and will hang in the third base dugout.
“If you look at all the qualities that Matt Gwaltney had, he really embodied everything that we ask of our students and we expect of them,” said School Board member Carrie Coyner during the dedication ceremony.
Greg Gwaltney, in cooperation with the Chesterfield Public Education Foundation (CPEF), is raising funds to improve the newly name Mathew Gwaltney Field. The group’s first order of business is to upgrade the scoreboard to a digital scoreboard and later improve the bleachers and grounds surrounding the field. To contribute to the CPEF efforts, you can mail a check to
Chesterfield Public Education Foundation, P.O. Box 2882, Richmond, VA 23235 or go online to www.cpefound.org for more information.