Young hero to get national award

March 17, 2005

Matt Dixon was honored Friday morning at the Linn county Sheriff’s Office
and will be recognized nationally in April when he and his family fly to
Washington, D.C.

Matthew Dixon’s key eye for detail and commitment to help another young
person has now earned the Holley Elementary School student a national
award from the U.S. Marshal’s Service.

Dixon, 11, will become the youngest person to receive the Citizen of the
Year award when he and his family are flown to Washington, D.C. April 20.
The announcement was made Friday morning at the Linn County Sheriff’s
Office by Dennis Merrill, U.S. Marshal for the District of Oregon.

He is the son of Duane and Jessica Dixon of rural Sweet Home.

“Within the last couple of years, the USMS has developed a strong
working relationship with the National Center for Missing and Exploited
Children (NCMEC),” Merrill said. “The Assistant Director for
Investigations for the USMS in Washington, D.C., sits on the Board of
Directors…Clearly, the USMS must effectively partner with local law
enforcement in order to accomplish our mission. Additionally, a critical
element in our law enforcement effort is an engaged public.”

Matt Dixon exemplified Merrill’s reference to an engaged public.

“On April 20 in Washington, D.C., the U.S. Marshals Service Director
Benigno Reyna will present to one of Oregon’s own, the prestigious
Directors Award for Citizen of the Year. All 94 District Offices
throughout the United States and Territories may submit nominations of
worthy individuals for this award. The Citizen of the Year award is
presented to a non-law enforcement individual who has made a significant
contribution–through a specific act or service to the mission of the
USMS or to the community.”

Merrill said that after a review of the candidates, Matthew Dixon’s
actions rose to the top.

“Without a doubt, this person not only captures the spirit of this
award, but exemplifies those characteristics of citizenship we all want
to see in the youth of this great country,” Merrill said.

Merrill said that on October 14, 2004, the Mount Angel Police Department
issued an “Amber Alert” concerning an abducted 11-year-old boy, believed
to have been taken by an armed 38-year-old man.

Matthew Dixon, a friend Michael Luttrell and the friend’s father, Mike
Luttrell, had been hunting in the McDowell Creek area northwest of Sweet
Home.

The trio encountered the suspect and the young man and spoke to them
about hunting the area.

Dixon also noticed a handgun partially covered by a red handkerchief
behind the suspect’s back. Dixon also made a mental note of the man’s
pickup truck license plate, the vehicle’s description and the type of
clothing worn by the man and the boy.

Later that night, while watching the evening news with his mother, Dixon
saw the “Amber Alert” notification and told his mother about what he had
observed earlier that day.

“Because of Matthew’s persistence and the fact that his description and
license plate information matched the information in the news report, the
family contacted Matthew’s hunting partner, Mike Lutrell. After speaking
with Matthew, Mike Lutrel notified law enforcement authorities.”

Linn County Sheriff’s deputies located the suspect shortly after
midnight October 15. The suspect opened gunfire on the officers and was
killed when the officers returned fire in self-defense. The young boy was
unharmed.

Linn County Sheriff Dave Burright said at the time, “A very sharp little
boy was actually the one that did the rescue. This is not an average
recollection from an 11-year-old. He did an excellent job of letting us
know what’s going on.”

It was with Sheriff Burright’s whole hearted support that Merrill’s
office nominated Dixon for the award.

“Matthew’s actions not only reflect the positive nature of his
character, but speak volumes of the values instilled in him by his
parents. It will truly be our pleasure to send him and his parents to
Washington to receive this high honor,” Merrill said.

Leave a Reply