Fellow Friday – Matt Kiddoo
Air Force retiree gives back through yoga, rucking, fellowship, and Team RWB
Service to our nation is not a new concept to Matt Kiddoo, whose family legacy includes 10 members who have served our country in uniform. A military brat who grew up on bases around the world, Kiddoo chose to follow in his father’s footsteps and enlisted in the Air Force before he even graduated high school. He retired after serving 20 years as an Aircraft Armament Systems Specialist, and his drive to serve others now includes Team Red, White, and Blue.
In 2014, Kiddoo was attending the Veteran’s Administration MOVE! Weight Management Program and looking for ways to stay focused on his health goals. While researching organizations that focused on physical activities, Kiddoo came across Team Red, White, and Blue.
“Team RWB Wichita had just started, and the chapter captain asked me if I had any ideas for activities,” said Kiddoo. “I volunteered to set up an event at a hockey game and recognition for Team RWB as ‘Hero of the Game.’ I realized right then I’d found the camaraderie and fellowship I’d been missing since I retired.”
After that first event, Kiddoo was hooked. Team RWB immediately made him feel welcomed and showed him he belonged. He quickly accepted an invitation to serve as the Team RWB Wichita Chapter’s volunteer Veteran Outreach Director.
One year after joining the volunteer leadership team, Kiddoo was asked to serve as his local chapter co-captain and later became the sole chapter captain.
As a volunteer Eagle leader, Kiddoo attended several leadership building events. At those events, he met members of the Eagle Leader Fellowship and learned about their experience. Hearing their stories inspired him to apply for the 2019 Eagle Leader Fellowship.
“It was a natural progression,” Kiddoo said. “The fellowship provided the chance to continue serving on a local level while branching out to make a difference at the regional and national levels.”
Kiddoo helped plan two Eagle Leader Experiences and served as the regional gratitude coordinator. He also supported his local community as a Department of Veterans Affairs Whole Health Peer Partner, and is currently supporting as aregional volunteer planning for an upcoming ConocoPhilips Warrior Clay Shoot.
“The sense of belonging, camaraderie, and inclusiveness that Team RWB provides is exactly what I was missing, what I needed, after I retired,” Kiddoo said. “There’s no other place I’d rather be.”
As a part of the fellowship, Team RWB supports fellows in the pursuit of elective education and experiences that increase the quality and quantity of veteran engagement. Kiddoo has used this support to focus on Warrior At Ease and iRest yoga training.
“I chose iRest Yoga Nidra level one, which I can bring back to the veteran community,” said Kiddoo. “It’s a skill that will allow me to continue to drive our mission, but in a way that appeals to a wider audience.”
Taking on new challenges
Outside of the fellowship, Kiddoo is reaching personal goals in a sport he loves while simultaneously providing encouragement for others. He is training for multiple GORUCK events, including a 50-mile Star Course.
“If you’re not yet a member, just sign up and show up,” said Kiddoo. “You will be welcomed, and you will find enrichment with Eagle Nation. And you will experience Eagle Fire, which is contagious. Step out of your comfort zone, come to an event, and you’ll fit right into our family.”
Applications for the 2020 Eagle Leader Fellowship are currently open for veterans, military family members, and civilian supporters. Click here to learn more about how you can help enrich the lives of veterans in your community.