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WNY'S Great Kids: 11-year-old landscapes for fun

Matthew mows the lawn, tends to the garden and does other chores everyday for his family and neighbors, not because he has to, but because he wants to.

SPRINGVILLE, N.Y. — While many 11-year-olds spend their summer glued to their TVs or phones, one Springville boy is out working in the yard and doing chores for others, all for fun.

Matthew Snyder will be up at the crack of dawn to mow the lawn, plow during the winter, tend to his plants, or fix things around the house because he truly enjoys it.

"I guess I'm just kind of interested in that kind of machinery and stuff," said Matthew, who is mostly self-taught.

His mother, Lauralee Sprague, said Matthew has fixed the lawnmower, garage door opener, washing machine and other appliances. He even gives away the produce he grows to neighbors who might need it. 

"He has a huge heart. He's so kind. He just loves to do things for other people. He works so hard here at our house. He does things for the neighbors. He does all of our yard work. He takes care of our snow in the winter and not becuase he has to. Because he loves to," she said. "He is an incredible kid who is making his mark and making the world a better place in his own special way."

Lauralee cited one recent example in which Matthew helped his neighbors without hesitation.

"Our neighbors were out of town after a recent rain and Matthew happened to look out and saw basically a river of water between our houses. The next thing I knew he was outside getting our firewood and made a little dam and rerouted the water and then was out there with a wheelbarrow and snow shovel trying to get the water away from their shed to keep it from flooding."

Matthew also takes pride in hunting and fishing.

He caught a 5 pound bass by the time he was 7-years-old, which took me till age 40 before I caught my first one," said Matthew's grandfather, Edward "Chip" Sprague, III. "But he's just very patient and he'll sit out there and never complain. He's kind of amazing really."

Matthew said his grandfather is his role model and inspired his love of landscaping.

"Technically it was all because of my grandpa because when he let me use his zero-turn (lawn tracter), then I realized it was what I wanted to do," said Matthew.

Chip said he and his grandson couldn't be any closer.

"Anything that I do he's gotta know all the ins and outs and the whys and the hows. He just is always eager to learn a new skill and I'm just very proud," said Chip. "He just has so much initiative. I guess that's what I see in him, the initiative and ambtition that you don't see very often anymore."

Matthew said neighbors offer to pay him but he has a hard time accepting anything. Although he adds he eventually would like to turn his good deeds into a landscaping business.

Neighbors said they couldn't be more grateful for his help.

"In the winter time he's out plowing his driveway at 5:30 or 6:00 a.m. He's hoping it snows again when he gets back from school," said neighbor Brad Glass. "I can't thank the kid enough for what he does for everybody."

"I've never seen a boy pray for snow just to shovel and snow blow for people," said a neighbor named Amy.

"He absolutely is a sweet young man, very responsible and energetic. He loves working outdoors," said another neighbor named Cathy.

Lauralee said she could not be more proud of her son or more blessed to be his mom.

"The best thing that will ever happen in my life is getting to be his mom," she said.

"This is typical of how he lives his life," said Chip. "He is always very polite and shows kindness at every opportunity. I have never seen a kid more deserving of the "Great Kid" label."

If you know of a "Great Kid" who should be featured on Channel 2 News, send an e-mail to nominate him or her to Melissa.Holmes@wgrz.com .