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EYE ON EDUCATION: Longview ISD grad volunteers building homes, making face masks

Matthew Hanson, 18, plans to attend the University of Arkansas in the fall.

LONGVIEW, Texas — Recent Longview High School graduate Matthew Hanson, 18, is no stranger to volunteer work.

Hanson and his mother have been making face masks to pass out to family, friends and anyone who needs one amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We thought it would be a good idea to make those and hand them out around town," Hanson said. "We've just been passing them out to anyone who ask for them, basically," he said. 

As the pandemic forced schools to switch to distance learning, Hanson found himself at home with the extra time to put his skills to the test. 

"I’m still getting some people, friends from school asking if I can make their school mask," he said.

During his time at Longview, Hanson was part of the International Baccalaureate (IB) program

"It's going to prepare you for college," Hanson said. 

Hanson plans on attending the University of Arkansas in the fall.

While some of his volunteer work was coordinated through the school, Hanson also volunteers with his church.

"Normally with my church we would go to Memphis, Tennessee, to this place called Service Over Self and we would go roof houses in the middle of July in 100-degree weather," he said. "It's really fun, but really hot and hard."

However, due to COVID-19 setbacks, Hanson's church youth director altered the program and asked people within his church if they needed any housework done. 

"A few people came by and basically they needed their house repainted," he said.

Now, Monday - Friday, Hanson and other members of his church help repair and repaint homes. 

Hanson says he's happy to be making a difference in his community. 

As he prepares to attend college, he wishes to leave behind a tidbit of advice for his fellow Lobos.

"Hang out with people who will make you question things and push harder," he said.