Years later, Matt Maupin's legacy lives on

Years later, Matt Maupin's legacy lives on
FOX19 NOW/Robert Guaderrama

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - He was the first American soldier to go missing in action during the Iraq war. And Monday, 14 years after he was taken captive before being killed, Staff Sgt. Matt Maupin's legacy continued on.

A Clermont County support center for troops was set up not long after Maupin was killed more than a decade ago.

Maupin was named citizen of the year in Anderson in 2016. There is a part of a nearby interstate that bears his name, as does a memorial pavilion at East Fork State Park. Parades were held to show support for his family and several fundraisers provide scholarships in his name.

But Maupin's dad, Keith, says his son lives on through the Yellow Ribbon Support Center on Mt. Carmel-Tobasco Road.

"Our mission is to support the men and women who serve in harm's way to remember those who don't walk off the plane," said Keith.

Two years after his son was captured, Keith set out for Washington, D.C., where he confronted a U.S. Army general about his son.

"We come here to tell you per se that we don't hold the Army responsible," Keith said. "But we come here to tell you we're damn sure going to hold you accountable to get that boy home. And you're not leaving him in Iraq like you did to those guys in Vietnam. And I told him I will breathe my last breath before I allow that to happen."

Two years later, Maupin's Army unit brought the fallen Glen Este soldier home to full military honors and a community that backed his family.

"Now when these soldiers come home and are carried off the plane there's a whole bunch of flags there," said Keith. "And that never happened before Matt came home."

To this day, there is something Keith still can't bring himself to do.

"I miss Matt and I'm probably going to miss him forever but you know I've never been back out to the grave site where Matt is because I know I'm going to be right next to him when my time comes, so," he said.

Keith says he wants to remember all of the fallen, not just his son and his anniversary.

The Yellow Ribbon Support Center is about to send out care package number 25,000. Keith said the scholarship fund in his son's name is about to top $700,000.

Copyright 2018 WXIX. All rights reserved.