Dear Editor,

This is letter that my son, Chad Mattson, an inmate at Blackwater River Correctional Facility, has written about Tara Blackwell’s perseverance and stamina. They are two people that inspire each other with their determination and uplifting friendship:

It’s been said that courage is to bear, unflinchingly what heaven sends.  It’s difficult to find an example that illustrates this better than the story of Pensacola’s Tara Blackwell.  One of the area’s top prep softball stars in 2003, she continued to excel on a collegiate level at Troy University.  Her dreams were becoming a reality, and then disaster struck.  On April 9, 2005, while awaiting the second game of a double-header, she attempted a back flip that went terribly wrong, landing awkward on her back.  It was that in that moment, her life would be forever changed.  Tara Blackwell was paralyzed.  What she’s been forced to do endure since that day is impossible to understand, but what’s not, is her display of relentless determination to life fife on her own terms.  Today, she is back on the softball field, this time as the coach at her alma mater, Pine Forest.  The incredible impact she has made on the lives surrounding her, is completely immeasurable.  It’s her combination of unwavering strength, and a burning passion, which demonstrates to all, that with extraordinary perseverance, nothing is impossible.  Not even her dream of one day standing up, and walking back onto the field again.



                                                                                                                                                                                               mother- Rita Mattson

                                                                                                                                                                                                   son- Chad Mattson

                                                                                                                                                                               Blackwater Correctional Facility

                                                                                                                                                                                                         Milton, Florida