Hard-working, dependable, positive are some of the words supporters of Matthew Jones offered to describe Matthew Jones, the Payson Roundup's Young Man of the Year.
Jones, 18, and a senior at Payson High School, "Sports is my life."
He has played basketball since coming to Payson the summer before his sixth-grade year, participating in private summer leagues as well as on the teams fielded by the seventh and eighth grades at Rim Country Middle School. He was on the basketball team for all four of his high school years. Right now he is busy with baseball, playing first base for the Varsity Longhorns. He brought two years of experience at the junior varsity level and summer baseball play senior Horns' team.
Jones is also active in his church, Mountain Bible, where his father, Kraig is one of the ministers -- and he loves hands-on history.
"I've always liked history and working with my hands," Jones said. So, he has decided to pursue a career as an archaeologist. He will start his post high school education at the community college level first.
"College is expensive," he said. To help with the expense of his education, Jones hopes to work with the Payson Hotshots this summer.
"I just applied a couple of weeks ago and it takes awhile to hear," he said.
Jones worked for Arizona Respiratory last summer, cleaning equipment and filling oxygen tanks; and he has worked with Dennis Pirch, when the former high school teacher and wrestling coach operated a landscaping business in the summer
"He is a nice boy, a very personable young man, who just enjoys working hard," Pirch said.
"When he worked with me, he was very diligent and willing to work," Pirch added. "When I had to leave a job to take care of something else, he would have the job done when I came back. He's going to be successful in the future."
Scott Nossek, owner and operator of Payson Physical Therapy, said Jones is there for all his teammates.
"He's a neat kid, a great teammate," Nossek said. "Even though he didn't always get to play as much as he might have liked, he played important roles in making his teams successful."
Nossek said the thing that stands out most about Jones for him is his happiness and positive energy.
"At a young age, he has learned the power of serving others joyfully," Nossek said. As part of that service, he was selected by faculty at Payson High School to mentor a group of freshmen this year, part of the "Make High School Count" program to help the youngest of the student body adjust to their new life.