Salvation Army Presents Making a Difference Community Service Pin to Howdy Matheny

Feb 23, 2023 | by The Salvation Army

Howdy Matheny was raised in the Ferguson/Florissant MO area, went to Tech School for Diesel Mechanics, and then studied at Florissant Valley Community College in engineering, then moved to Columbia in the 70’s to hopefully further his education. With a part-time job as a carpenter and at UPS, he was hoping to get a job as a UPS mechanic and or go into Diesel Engineering, but God had a different plan. He instead took an opening as a package car driver and continued delivering for 44 years with UPS, earning several service awards, including UPS Circle of Honor Drivers who had reached 35+ consecutive years of safe driving, and the UPS Community Service Volunteer of the year in 2015 for leading Mission Trips to Mexico, Honduras, and an Apache Reservation in Globe, AZ. He earned his nickname (Howdy) at UPS, as he greeted each and every stop with a hearty “Howdy”.

Howdy is married (45 years) and has three grown children and four grandchildren. He continues as an elder and member of the board at Forum Christian Church and leads their Benevolence Committee, but has been involved in many areas over the years, including teaching middle school Bible classes and serving as a small group leader. He carries a CDL and now helps train others to get theirs. After retiring in 2018, he built a new home in Boone County for himself and his bride (Teresa), envisioning fishing and tinkering on cars and engines to pass the time. After hearing a presentation at Forum about Love Columbia, he felt led to volunteer and in January of 2022 started shaping the Car coaching and Donor Wheels Club programs there. He is getting known as “Howdy the car guy”, and he has helped families buy, educate, sell, repair, and diagnose over 200+ cars in the past year. Rod Petersen, Forum’s Community Outreach Minister stated: “It was God’s plan that Howdy and Jane Williams' (Director of Love Columbia) paths someday would cross, and what a beautiful benefit to our community that was created”.

How would you describe yourself to a new friend? Howdy, my name is Howdy. How can I help you?

What is something you like people to know about you? I am a faithful follower of Jesus Christ and I’m incredibly thankful for Forum Christian Church that discipled me and my family at a young age.

What is a community issue you especially care about? Like Love Columbia, I care about the lack affordable housing for low income citizens in Columbia. Second to that is what I am involved in: Helping low income, less fortunate, and fortune that have made poor choices, obtain affordable, reliable transportation.

What is something fun on your bucket list that you want to make sure you do? Restore my ’65 fastback Mustang that I still have from when I was 16.

What are you good at that might surprise people? I have my own Santa Claus suit, and I know how to use it. I try to do a couple events each year for charity

What kind of kid were you? Always in trouble for taking things apart.

Who is a personal hero of yours? The late Roy Weece, former director of Christian Campus House here in Columbia.

What is something you would change about Columbia? Love Columbia is helping this community with grass roots, basic transportation needs, but so many of our clients are a “dead battery or a flat tire away from losing their job”.

I would like to see and maybe help create a culture shift in Columbia that did not require everyone to rely on having their own cars. To do that, Columbia needs to rethink the bus and or mass transit systems to support citizens that need to get to work, right now, “no car, means no job”. Columbia is an innovative city, and Columbia could be the poster child for other cities to follow if they would invest more into the transportation issues that are very real to our community.

What is a guilty pleasure for you? Coconut, pecans and oatmeal baked into a sweet treat.

What do you wish you knew how to do? Play the Harmonica, because I cannot sing.


Want to nominate someone for a Making a Difference Community Service Award? Here is the form:


Here are other award recipients.

Erica Dickson

John Trapp

Tami Benus

Mark Palmer

Teri Walden

Tambra Redden

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