A 24-year-old National Guard soldier died last week in a snowboarding accident at the American Dream mall in New Jersey, officials and family members said.
Airman 1st Class Peter R. Matthews had served in the Maryland Air National Guard since 2020, the Air National Guard’s 175th Wing said in a statement announcing his off-duty death.
Matthews, of Bay Shore, N.Y., was with his sister on a ski slope in East Rutherford on Thursday when he fell backwards while on a snowboard and hit his head, his sister Sarah Matthews told Newsday.
Matthews performed life-saving measures on the slope and was rushed to Hackensack University Medical Center, where he died, the report said.
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Matthews was a crew chief assigned to the 175th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron. He was awarded the Air Force Achievement Medal earlier this year for his achievements during two US Army European-led training exercises in Eastern Europe.
“Peter was truly an amazing person and his smile lit up a room. If you had the opportunity to talk to him, you immediately knew he had a great future and was destined for greatness,” said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Jeffrey Golabewski, 175th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron senior executive officer.
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“He followed in his father’s footsteps to become a pilot,” Golabewski continued. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and everyone who knew Peter.”
Mathews is survived by his father and mother, Roy and Sasmi Mathews, and his two sisters, Sarah and Grace, according to the Gospel Missions of India.
The 24-year-old was to be buried at Calverton National Cemetery in Riverhead, New York.