Having overcome their fair share of struggles, the Hughes family experienced the worst when Edward Hughes, a member from a long line the Elks, lost his life to cancer only six months after diagnosis. As a result, the increasing financial hardship compromised the academic pursuits of his two sons. With their mother’s help, Matthew and Luke Hughes sought financial assistance anywhere they could think of, but found relief with the Elks National Foundation’s Emergency Educational Grant Program. “Prior to hearing the news, I was very nervous that my brother and I would not be able to come up with the funds to pay our way through the final stages of our year.” Matthew explains, “I can not begin to express how grateful we were to receive such a generous grant.”
While growing up in the inner city of Brockton, Mass., Matthew’s parents nurtured him and his brother with their love and self sacrifice. Education was always a priority. Matthew recalls his mother taking a janitorial job at St. Casimir’s so her boys could attend school there: “I went every day after school, before a sporting event, and on weekends with my mother to clean the school in order that her job would be lighter.” His commitment to help in the lives others did not stop there.
In choosing Boston College, Matthew felt a close connection with their Jesuit motto of being “Men and Women for Others.” Instead of relaxing over winter and spring break, Matthew volunteered on four house building projects in Appalachia and traveled to the Gulf Coast to volunteer after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.
During his four years at BC, Matthew co-founded the group FACES, which helps alleviate racial tension on campus and gives voice to students on hot issues through dialogues within the dorms and beyond.
Matthew also co-founded Hoops for Hope: a 3 on 3 basketball tournament that donated proceeds to the Jimmy V. Foundation for Cancer Research. “Cancer is a devastating disease that I am so fortunate to have been able to fight” Matthew shares, “as it is the same one which has taken my fathers life. “ Mr. Hughes was very proud of his Elks participation and often spoke with enthusiasm about the days his sons might join the Order. He would no doubt feel good knowing that the Elks are helping his sons go to college.