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|Johnston to be remember in new baseball addition|
The Franklin Parish High School athletic program is excited to have a new concession stand and press box for the baseball program, however they would have gladly given it up to have one of their own still a part of the FPHS family.
Mathew Johnston, a former Patriot standout on the baseball diamond died of cancer. Thanks in large part to the contribution and work from his parents Rene and Kevin, the new facilities at the school will be dedicated in his honor later this month.
"I believe the idea of this came and about and started to come together within the last year," Patriots Head Football Coach and Athletic Director Barry Sebren said. "Matthew died in November of 2006 and at that point this whole thing was really the brainchild of his mother and his dad. They came up with this.
"This is something that they wanted to do. It was not something that we approached them about. It was something that they wanted to do because he (Matthew) loved baseball so much. They thought that this would be what he would want. Saying that, something like this takes money and they are providing a very large portion of it."
From long-time residents and coaches throughout the school, Sebren said Johnston was a joy to be around and coach.
"Everyone that I know that knew Mathew said that he was a first-rate student first off," Sebren said. "He was a first-rate athlete as well that had his entire future ahead of him. The sad thing is that it was just such a quick diagnosis and a quick illness with him. It just kind of overwhelmed him; it was just so rapid.
"There was so much heartbreak in that throughout the community of Franklin Parish. Hopefully these new facilities will allow us and the entire Franklin Parish High School family to never forget him."
The Patriots athletic director said he hopes that this monument will help people to keep Mathew's memory alive and in their hearts.
"The thought and love behind this is the most important thing," Sebren said. "Obviously it was something that we were glad to do in memory of him. It is hard to talk about stuff like this because we are still talking about a young man that is unfortunately no longer with us. It is such an emotional issue when someone so young like that is taken from us.
"For his mom and dad to say that hey this is what he wants or would want if he could do anything is truly special. They knew him better than anybody. We are glad that we are getting a first-class, first-rate concession stand, a press box as well as a memorial stone dedicated to him. It is going to be really nice when it is finished."