Skip to content

'It’s important to give back to the Veterans for what they did for us' says long-time Bradford resident, volunteer

‘It’s important to give back to the Veterans for what they did for us’

He helps people without expecting anything in return and is very well known at the town's Zehrs where he works; when it comes to being helpful and friendly and doing things out of the kindness of one’s heart, Bradford resident Matt Walker knows no boundaries.

A resident of Bradford his whole life, Matt attended WH Day Public School and Bradford District High School. His first job was a paper route for five years before landing a job at the Bradford Zehrs where he has worked since they opened eight years ago. 

As a front-end clerk, Matt helps returns carts and assists customers with groceries. If you have ever shopped at Zehrs, chances are you have met Walker at least once to help you put your groceries into the back of your car, or to ask you how your day is going.

“He always goes above and beyond,” shares Matt's mother, Bonnie. “When he did his papers, if people’s recycling boxes were left out, he would return them to the front door."

At 19, Matt joined the Bradford Legion as one of the youngest and most active members. His serving attitude and genuine smile was infectious among the members.

“There was nothing he wouldn’t do to help out," shares Tammy Paglia, President of the Bradford Legion. “He’s very passionate about our Veterans."

In 2010, Matt won the Bradford West Gwillimbury Civic Award: Community Builder Award, recognizing his outstanding contributions to the community, and in 2015 he won the Legionnaire of the Year Award on behalf of the Bradford Legion, recognizing his hard work and countless volunteer hours and dedication to the Legion.

In 2018, he was awarded the President's Award for his work on the Executive Board with the Legion where he was instrumental in starting a bursary and became the Legion’s official bursary chairman.

“A student going to college or university can apply for the grant from the Legion in the amount of $500… we’ve never had one before so I brought the idea up to the executives and they were in support of it," he said.

In 2017, Matt organized and executed a spaghetti dinner and comedy fundraiser night at the Bradford Legion called “Raise the Roof” to help raise money to help fix the Legion’s roof.

“He was instrumental in bringing together the “Raise the Roof” fundraiser… from hiring the comedian to cooking most of the dinner himself,” remembers Paglia, noting that the fundraiser raised $3,000 after expenses.

Matt adds “We also did a pie in the face for donations… I had a lot of help planning that from the executives [and] it was very successful, definitely something I would like to do again."

Although Matt's focus has shifted to the Air Cadets in the past couple years, he remains an active member and supporter of the Bradford Legion and attends all dinners and events such as the Remembrance Day parade and ceremony.

“It’s important to give back to the Veterans for what they did for us," he said, whose parents are also Legion members. “It’s something to do… giving back, helping people where they need to be helped."

Matt turns 29 in December and states he would like to travel more in the future.

“I would like to go to Jamaica… I’m really hoping to go there one day,” he shared.

His father Gary says his son is "smarter beyond his years” while Bonnie adds “when he becomes your friend, he will never let you down…when you’ve got Matt as a friend, you’ve got one for life!”