Matthew Grant is reunited with family


THE GRANT family of Onaway is so happy to be together for Christmas. This photo was taken Sunday at their home with, from left, Nancy, Maggie, Matthew, Babbs and Mark, in a Christmas card moment that should be cherished. Matthew survived three weeks out on the Appalachian Trail in Pennsylvania, living on trail mix and granola bars.

by Peter Jakey–Managing Editor 

 Matthew Grant, 22, of Onaway was reunited with his family three weeks and two days since the evening of his disappearance in what many in his hometown were calling a Christmas miracle.

Matthew, who disappeared days before Thanksgiving, had been hiking the Appalachian Trail about 300 miles from Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) where he was attending school and co-captain of the wrestling team. He left his college home in Henrietta, New York on the evening of Nov. 20 without his phone and the only evidence of his whereabouts being a snapshot of his 2014 Jeep on a freeway in Syracuse, but nobody knew the direction he was headed. 

Matthew learned about the search effort, prompting him to visit a police station in Palmerton, Pennsylvania, Dec. 13, where he contacted his mother Nancy, and assured her, he was safe.

“I feel incredibly grateful to have people like you all in my corner,” said Matthew in a statement. “It’s hard to understand just how much support you will have, regardless of how you are doing personally. I am doing much better now that I am reunited with my family. It means the world to me.”

Many people in the Onaway community have known Matthew for many years, mainly because of his successes in wrestling at an early age, competing nationally, and then placing all four years of high school, including a state runner-up finish. He also was an honor student from the Class of 2020.

Matthew’s disappearance has raised many questions, some that even his close-knit family cannot explain at this point, but having him home and safe is all that matters to his parents and sister Maggie Grant.

“Nov. 20, Matthew left hi

s home and drove off into the dark for reasons we don’t yet understand,” said his father Mark, who was the Onaway wrestling coach for 21 years. “I always talked to him, and all of my wrestlers, that they need to do all of the small things right because small things add up to big things. Well, from the other direction, a lot of small issues can add up to one big issue and maybe that is what happened.”

Mark said his family is getting Matthew “all the help he needs to set his course for success and I am one of the happiest people in the world to have the opportunity to do that with him.”

(The complete story appears in the Dec. 21 print edition)