Former York College men's lacrosse goalkeeper and current U.S. Army National Guard Spc. Matthew Keeler, public affairs specialist with the 109th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment, 310th Expeditionary Sustainment Command, and a Ridley, Pa., native, received a Purple Heart award in a ceremony July 18 inside the Joint Operation Command, Joint Base Balad, Iraq.
He was awarded the Purple Heart in the name of the president of the United States for sustaining a shrapnel wound to his back and leg in the line of duty.
"I remember when he decided as a senior mass communication major to enter the military after graduation," said Instructor Robert Mott, who taught Keeler in video production. "I guess I wasn't that surprised because he always had a heart for the people around him."
One of the many times he exhibited this at York was during his last project in Mott's class.
"The project featured homelessness at Christmas," said Mott.
Keeler also displayed the heart of a champion while a member of the YCP men's lacrosse varsity squad.
"Matt was a tremendous competitor," said Brent Duffy, York College Athletic Communications intern. "The energy he exuded from the cage was second to none and helped lead the Spartans to two of their best seasons in program history. His outstanding work ethic, heart and intensity proved a vital key to York's success during his time in the Green and White."
At the conclusion of his three years as goalkeeper, he was ranked first all-time for York in save percentage, goals against average and goalkeeper wins, and ranked second all-time for York in saves.
"Matt was a pleasure to get to know, and he was an outstanding student-athlete in the truest sense of the word," Duffy added.