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National Guardsman ‘destined for greatness’ dies in snowboarding accident, officials say

Airman First Class Peter R. Mathews was a traditional guardsman who served in the Maryland Air National Guard since 2020. (175th Wing/Facebook)

An Air National Guardsman from Long Island, New York, died following a “tragic” snowboarding accident, officials said.

Peter Mathews, 24, fell while snowboarding on Dec. 8 at the Big SNOW, an indoor facility at the American Dream mall in New Jersey, according to Newsday.

He hit his head and became unconscious, his family told the Long Island newspaper.

A spokesperson for Big SNOW confirmed to McClatchy News that an incident occurred on Thursday evening, adding that first aid was provided and the guest was brought to a nearby hospital. No further information was provided “in the interest of the guest’s privacy.”

“Our thoughts are with this guest’s family at this time,” the spokesperson said.

Mathews had served as a crew chief in the Maryland Air National Guard since 2020, according to a Dec. 10 statement from the 175th Wing, a unit of the state’s National Guard.

“Peter was genuinely an amazing person, and his smile lit up the room,” U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Jeffrey Golabiewski said. “ If you had a chance to talk to him, you knew instantly he had a remarkable future and was destined for greatness.”

He’d been awarded the Air Force Achievement Medal following military exercises in Eastern Europe earlier this year, according to the statement.

“He was in the process of following in his father’s footsteps to become a pilot,” Golabiewski said.


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