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Crime victim known for his kindness

By Randy Hammons
The Daily News

Raymond Matthews continues his long recovery process after being robbed and shot in the face on July 6. Family and friends said kindness, generosity and a man of Christian values are some adjectives that aptly describe Matthews.
Matthews, 66, was shot near his right eye near the carport area of his Donnell Street home. Money and credit cards were taken. Charged in the attack were two adults and a 15-year-old juvenile. The adults were Demetric Sowell, 23, and 20-year-old Trevonne Mingo. Among Sowell’s charges was attempted second-degree murder.
Matthews’ youngest son said the crime was truly senseless.
“My dad would do anything to help people out. If that guy had just walked up and asked for money, chances are my dad would have given it to him. Or if he didn’t have the money, he could send him in the direction to get some help,” Michael Matthews said. “My dad would have helped him anyway he could. That’s just the type of person he is and how he raised us.”
Michael Matthews is 32. Older brothers are Steven, 44, and Daniel, 42. Raymond Matthews has eight grandchildren and a great grandchild is on the way.
Raymond Matthews attends Pettitt Memorial Baptist Church. He owns Matthews Appliance Service and also worked with the Child Nutrition Program at Bogalusa City Schools.
“He tries not only to attend church but live in his faith every day,” daughter-in-law Kimberly Matthews said. “He was not about simply going to church, but it is his faith. Mr. Raymond shared his faith with anybody.”
Michael agreed with his wife.
“My dad raised me to have a relationship with God and not just have a religious experience,” Michael said. “That’s how we’ve been dealing with this.”
Michael said his father often stays busy .
“Dad does a lot of volunteer work with the church. He does everything he can to help his fellow man,” Michael said. “We, as a family, simply strongly believe in the Bible and you help a neighbor as you do yourself. My dad does a lot for the people. Sometimes he won’t take money for a service call.”
Kimberly Matthews said her father-in-law would probably play down everything they’ve said about him.
“We know he’s too humble to say any of these things himself,” she said. “He’s probably too humble any of this himself. We’ve just been overwhelmed from all the support and people praying for him. We’ve been really amazed at the outpouring of support from his friends.”
Joannie Miller knows Raymond Matthews from their work with Bogalusa City Schools’ Child Nutrition Program.
“He’s a wonderful, Christian man,” Miller said. “He’s a likeable man and fun-loving. I just can’t say enough about him. It’s just a shame what happened to him.”
Tommy Varnado was Matthews’s pastor at Pettitt Memorial for nine years before Varnado resigned. He is currently a street preacher around the region.
“He was one of the finest Christians I’ve ever met,” Varnado said. “He was faithful to the church. He visited folks in nursing homes. He is a good, moral fellow, a good citizen and just a good, all-around person,”
Varnado said he has known Matthews for 35 years.
“He’s always had a smile on his face,” Varnado said. “He is a very likeable person. I look for him to be going strong again. He’ll bounce back and won’t let this get him down. He’s a man I consider like my brother.”