Corporation of Brownsville Honors Father Armand Mathew
The CDCB held a ceremony
at noon Monday, Sept. 16 to dedicate the Education and Training Room to honor
Mathew who founded the CDCB in November of 1974.
Traci Wickett and Mike Seifert lead the group in pledging to continue carrying out Father Armand's work.
“This room is where it all starts for
our clients. They is where they meet and learn how they can buy a new house and
what we can do for them,” said Nick Mitchell-
Bennett, Executive Director of the CDCB. “That was Father
Mathew’s goal, and that is what he instilled in us―to change the lives of the
poor around us”.
The Community Development Corporation of
Brownsville is the largest non-profit producer of single family housing in
Texas. CDCB provides affordable housing for homeownership to families earning
as little as $8,000 per year in Cameron County.
Mitchell-Bennett told the
story of how Mathew started the CDCB. In 1974, Mathew was a new priest in
Brownsville and wanted to know the people of his parish to find out what their
needs were. He discovered that people needed help fixing their homes.
“He was our founding
father. He cut more ribbons and blessed more houses in this town. He loved
being a part of our board and participating where he could,” said Bennett.
Mathew died in June at the age of 90. He
had been with The University of Texas at Brownsville since 2001,
when he launched the Center for Civic Engagement. An advocate for
social justice, Mathew’s imprint is on many organizations from Valley
Interfaith, Kids Voting to the Center for Civic Engagement.
“We do remember his presence, his
communication, his outspokenness when there was a need to do so and that’s why
it was important to be here today,” Cox said.
Traci Wickett, President and CEO of the
United Way of Southern Cameron
a good friend of Mathew, said she feels Mathew’s presence every day pushing her
to keep moving.
“Every one of us has to be like Armand
and push for meaningful change to lift those that don’t have the same
opportunities that the rest of us have,” said Wickett. “Pledge with me
that in our lifetime we are going to carry out Armand’s work. I don’t think
anything would make him any happier.”
read the text from Senate Resolution 137 adopted on the floor of the Senate
June 25 in memory of Father Mathew, several days after Mathew passed away on
June 22 at his residence at the Immaculate Conception Cathedral.
Passionate about public involvement in
civic matters, Mathew and Center for Civic Engagement took on the Kids Voting
USA project, nurturing the initiative to what it has become today – an
established component of the K-12 curriculum throughout all Brownsville schools.
The newly dedicated Father Armand Mathew Education & Training Room is located at the Community Development Corporation of Brownsville at 901 E. Levee Street.
2005, he also established the Kids Voting USA Brownsville Endowment. As has become the custom since the establishment of the
endowment, friends and colleagues would gather to
celebrate their beloved friend/mentor/spiritual advisor and to shower him with
gifts in the form of checks or payroll deduction forms written out to Kids
Voting USA – Brownsville.
are underway to continue the tradition and hold a celebration at noon on
Monday, October 21, Mathew’s 91’s birthday at UTB.
could live a thousand years and never merit the love and generosity and the
respect and friendship that I have received as a priest,” said Mathew in a
video produced for his 90th birthday celebration last year. “You
just don’t merit that, it comes to you as a reward, and I suppose that’s why my
life has been enchanted.”
Gifts to honor Mathew’s legacy can be
made to the Kids Voting USA Brownsville Endowment, UTB Office of Advancement
One University Blvd., Brownsville, TX 78520
learn more about giving to UTB, contact Executive Director of University
Relations Laurie Howell at 956-882-4334 or firstname.lastname@example.org.