Matt Elliot - Scholarship Recipient Pays it Forward

Matt Elliot - Scholarship Recipient Pays it Forward

At age 26 Matt Elliott of Norfolk became the youngest philanthropist at the Hampton Roads Community Foundation. Matt graduated from Virginia Military Institute in 2012 with a biology degree. During his four years of study there, he was helped by a Col. J. Addison Hagan Memorial Scholarship administered by the community foundation. In 2015 he created the Dean-Callahan Scholarship Fund in memory of two fellow Maury High School swimmers — Carlton Ervin Dean, Jr. and Joseph “Joey” Patrick Callahan. The college scholarship is for Norfolk Public School athletes with a preference for swimmers. Matt raised most of the money with a one-night swim off, volleyball tournament, barbecue and auction at the Mallory Country Club in 2014.

Even though Carlton and Joey were several years younger, Matt knew them through sports — primarily swimming. All three were on the Maury High swim team but not all at the same time. Matt went on to become captain of the VMI swim team and to coach several Hampton Roads youth swim teams. After Carlton passed away in 2012 at age 19 and Joey in 2013 at age 21, Matt started thinking of a way to honor these outstanding swimmers. He decided a permanent scholarship for athletes would be the best tribute.

At swim meets, Carlton Dean excelled at butterfly, breaststroke and freestyle. He was named Most Valuable Player on the Maury High swim team as well as on the Pembroke Meadows Marlin and Tri City Aquatic Club swim teams. He also excelled at wrestling, basketball and football. As a swimmer, Joey Callahan was known for his freestyle sprints and often anchored winning relay teams. He also was an excellent volleyball and soccer player at Maury and earned 12 varsity letters. During his senior year he was named the volleyball team’s co-MVP.

“I knew how much both Carlton and Joey meant to the community and how big they were in athletics. And, I knew how much the foundation scholarship helped me. This was perfect,” Matt says of the scholarship fund.