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ABOUT THREE IN EVERY TEN Americans will be involved in an
ALCOHOL-RELATED CRASH in their LIFETIME. (MADD)
"One of the saddest realities of our culture is that every forty-five minutes someone is killed by a drunk driver." (NATSA)
In the early hours of Saturday, March 7th, 2009, Matthew Maher made the fatal decision to drive while under the influence of alcohol. Traveling at a high rate of speed on the Atlantic City Expressway, Matthew struck the vehicle of 55 year-old Hort Kap, husband and father of six children. Mr. Kap was pronounced dead at the scene and Matthew was arrested and charged with aggravated manslaughter. Matthew's poor decision to drink and drive would tragically change many lives. He was eventually sentenced to 5 years 5 months in prison, of which he must serve 85 percent of his time.
Prior to Matt's sentencing on January 7th, 2010, a presentation was created by the South Jersey Traffic Safety Alliance featuring the story of Matt's life called,"I'm That Guy"
Matt was "That Guy" who grew up achieving in every area of his life. He was a role model, active in his community, excelled in academics and athletics, earned himself a full scholarship to Temple University, and eventually signed a professional contract as a soccer player.
Now he is "That Guy," a drunk driver, who killed an innocent man
and who now resides in prison.
The "I'm that Guy" presentation was presented to over 34 schools in just three months reaching over 7000 students. It is a powerful testimony of how "decisions determine destiny" and a cautionary tale about the dangers and consequences of drinking and driving.
But the story doesn't end there...
Matthew has dedicated himself to honoring the memory of his victim, Mr. Hort Kap, by continuing the call of finding purpose in unspeakable tragedy. His story is compelling in that it exemplifies the power of forgiveness and redemption. It challenges us to ask ourselves: "Can my faith really sustain me in life-changing trials and uncertainty?" This story is a living example of how bad things can happen to good people. It's about choices, consequences and how our actions can change countless lives--for the good or bad. It offers hope and an eternal perspective in navigating the storms that enter our lives.
Matt has experienced what it means to go from the height of success to the depths of sorrow. He says, "If they told me I could leave prison tomorrow, I would refuse because God is teaching me so much and I have more to learn."
We've committed ourselves to posting Matt's handwritten journals, mailed home from prison, to serve as an encouragement to all who visit. We hope to spread the message that with God's help, one can find hope in hopeless situations, and turn failure into a greater purpose of changing, impacting and ultimately saving lives.
Come join Matt,
as he writes from prison, about the powerful lessons of his journey through
Who He Was
Matthew Maher had all the benefits of a strong family background. His parents, John and Andrea have four sons. John is a retired Police Chief and currently Executive Undersheriff of the Cape May County Sheriff’s Office. He is also the head coach for varsity soccer at Middle Township High School. Andrea was a stay-at-home mom and very involved in all of her boys activities, as well as in her local community. When her boys were in grade school, she taught at the local Christian school, bartering her time for their tuition. When they entered high school, she petitioned the federal government for a grant to teach abstinence education in the public schools. She was awarded a Title V grant and co-wrote The Peer Challenge Program, which was presented county-wide in area schools. She also writes a monthly column, "Family Matters," in the Cape May County Herald Newspaper. John and Andrea are very active in their church and have taught the adult Sunday School class for over ten years.Andrea’s parents lived with them for over 20 years prior to their recent deaths. Her mother passed away unexpectedly in January, 2009--just months before Matt's accident and her father became ill this past year and passed away in March 2011.
The Maher home has always been host to numerous family gatherings as they have a large extended family and most live within close proximity. Matthew is the youngest of four children. His oldest brother,John, died at age 28, Anthony, age 31, is married to the former Anne Collins; they have one child, Roman John. Michael, age 29, is married to the former Jennifer Kleuskins; he is a graduate of the United States Naval Academy and a Lieutenant in the United States Navy.
Matthew was raised in a very loving Christian home where family values were not only taught, but lived out. Matthew and his brothers attended Christian school up until the eighth grade and then transferred to public high school. They were high achievers in academics and athletics and were taught to always give 110% in every area of their lives. Each of the Maher boys had the privilege of serving as President of the Middle Township High School Bible Club at various times throughout their high school years. Anthony, Michael, and Matthew all earned college scholarships, were college captains of their soccer teams, and have enjoyed giving back to their community by running youth camps and tournaments. Throughout high school and college, Matt was a speaker for the Peer Challenge Program and organized a chapter of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes at Temple University.Matthew "had it all," some might say, and was working his way to the top of his profession as a soccer player when one reckless decision to drink and drive changed everything.
This web page is dedicated to the victim, Mr. Hort Kap, with the hopes that others would learn from Matt’s story that details an almost instantaneous departure from “that guy,” who had everything to “that guy,” who sits in prison regretting his decision to drive after drinking.
His loving family support has continued as those who know and love Matthew are looking at this tragedy as an opportunity for him to rise above his current circumstances and influence countless lives with his story--all in an effort to honor his victim. Most importantly, the Kap family has granted forgiveness to Matt. Andrea and Hort Kap’s oldest daughter Somaly have become friends; their mutual bond is their faith in God. Both families are dedicated to working together to ensure Matt’s story about the dangers of drinking and driving is told to as many people as possible. But more than that, they are committed to demonstrate what greater purpose can prevail when we allow God to work in the midst of great tragedy.
Where He's Been
Matthew Maher grew up in a very competitive atmosphere being the youngest of four brothers, who were all stand-out athletes. He can remember vying to keep up with his older brothers from the time he could walk. He never left the house without either a ball on his foot or a ball in his hand. Basketball and soccer were family passions and Matt excelled at both. The foundational principles of Christianity were taught to all of the Maher boys with the hopes that they would withstand peer pressure, make wise decisions, and influence their peers for Christ.
During his time at Temple University, Matt was named to the Atlantic 10 Conference All Rookie Team. He would earn captain honors and was named to the Philadelphia Soccer Seven All Star team in January 2007.
Prior to graduation from Temple, where he held a dual major of Business and Legal Studies, Matthew was drafted 1st round, ninth pick by Miami FC. Since that would require Matt to leave school early, Matt turned down that contract offer. He eventually signed a contract with the Carolina Railhawks, where his older brother Anthony was a veteran player. In 2007, he was drafted 1st round, second pick for the New Jersey Ironmen of the Major Indoor Soccer League (MISL). In 2009, he, once again joined his older brother Anthony and signed a contract with the Philadelphia Kixx.
Matthew's entire life was marked by good decision making and thoughtful steps towards each of his goals. Except one night when he made the tragic decision to drive while under the influence of alcohol.
On Friday, March 1st, 2009, Matt Maher tore his ACL in a game with the Philadelphia Kixx. Before the team Doctor even examined him, he knew it was a serious injury. In the ensuing days, Matt's mind was plagued with thoughts about his future, and the reality that his professional career might be over. Instead of relying on his faith, he drowned his sorrows bar-hopping in Philadelphia. That poor decision would tragically change many lives. In the early hours of Saturday, March 7th, 2009 and while driving under the influence of alcohol, Matthew hit Mr. Hort Kap's vehicle on the Atlantic City Expressway. Mr. Kap was pronounced dead at the scene. One bad decision would forever blot out all the good decisions he had made in his life. Taking responsibility for one's actions was taught in the Maher house, and Matt is doing his best to take an adverse situation to make a difference for others. It is his hope to use his story as a real life example, of how one can have all the right things in place, but ruin countless lives due to drinking and driving. It is his heartfelt desire to spread the message that God is at work even in the midst of the storm.
Who He Is Today
On March 7, 2009, Matthew Maher’s life would change in a drastic way. It was on that night that he made the poor decision to drive while under the influence of alcohol. That decision would impact many lives and result in the tragic death of an innocent man, Mr. Hort Kap. Matt shares openly how he felt shame, sorrow, guilt, and despair, and had wished that it had been him who died that night. It was very difficult to process the fact that his careless actions had caused the death of an innocent man. Matt and his family prayed for God to comfort and care for the Hort Kap family through this awful time. They prayed that Matthew would one day find forgiveness from the family. And they prayed for greater purpose from their Heavenly Father to bring some good from this horrendous tragedy.