Dick Matthews is the volunteer who can’t say no.

And he doesn’t want to.

Saying yes to organizations that need help has landed Matthews, 48, of South Portland, on more boards and committees than most of us knew existed. He’s currently a school board member, co-president of the Mahoney Middle School PTA, player agent and sponsorship director for South Portland National Little League, co-president of South Portland High School Dollars for Scholars, leader of his church’s youth group, and a member of the high school renovation committee.

He also helps out at his daughter’s swim meets, sells “Mahoney Spirit Wear” to raise money, and spends any spare time he has recruiting others to volunteer for city or school groups.

He does all this in spite of – and partly because of – a disability that has left him with titanium implants in his hips and shoulder.

“He’ll volunteer for anything, it doesn’t matter if he’s good at it or if he’s done it before. He contributes so much to the community, and at the expense of his health sometimes,” said Stacy Frank, a neighbor who has worked with Matthews on the Little League board.


Matthews said he became disabled after working with chemicals over a period of years, at a business he’d rather not mention. His ability to do anything physical is limited, and he tires easily. If he knows he has a board meeting, or is helping out at an event, he tries to rest up beforehand.

“I try to give back as much as I can. I don’t do a lot of physical work. Most of what I do is brain work, calling people, coordinating things,” Matthews said. “If I worked, I wouldn’t be able to volunteer as much as I do, but I’d certainly still volunteer.”

Matthews says his main reason for volunteering is simple: He loves kids and he values what they mean to the community. He grew up in South Portland, joined the Coast Guard out of high school, and ran Clyde’s Pub on Ocean Street in the 1990s. He has one grown son, and two children in middle school.

“Behind every great community is a great school system and great children,” Matthews said. “Everything I do is for children.”

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: