Kansas family gives gift of hope while keeping their son’s memory alive


“You miss him everyday,” Matthew’s father, Curtis Wellbrock said. “He was fun, loving, happy kid. He loved playing with farm toys.”

A tragedy no parent wants to go through.

On September 11, 2016, 3-year-old Matthew Wellbrock was injured in a tragic accident at his family’s home in Victoria.

It was a typical Sunday afternoon.

Matthew and his brothers were finishing up lunch until he escaped from his parents sight.

Fifteen minutes later, the family’s life turned upside down.

“I asked Curt where is Matthew, and he went looking,” Jeanna Wellbrock, Matthew’s mother said. “Curt ran into the garage and that’s when Curt found [Matthew] trapped between the tailgate of the pickup and the garage door.”

Jeanna said years later, she still has no idea how it happened.

“It was a freak accident,” she said. “We started CPR and called 911.”

Matthew’s injuries were so serious, paramedics transported him from Hays Med to a Wichita hospital.

The family was by his side, but they didn’t have any toiletries or extra clothes.

“I had one pair of clean jeans and grabbed a clean shirt,” Jeanna said. “I was trying to get to Wichita to be with Matthew, packing everything else was not what I was first thinking.”

In the hospital, a fellow EMT showed up with a bag, which they now call a blessing.

“A toothbrush and a body cloth, so I could wash my face for the first time in a couple days,” she said. “It just had basic necessities you would need at that moment.”

Curtis even added the bag had snacks, so they didn’t have to go to the vending machine and leave Matthew’s side.

“It’s important to just stay by his side,” he said. “Just in case anything went wrong.”

Matthew died two days later in the hospital.

The doctors declared him brain dead.

It wasn’t the ending the family hoped for, but the necessity bag the family received inspired them to help others in similar situations.

“He was a helper,” Curtis said. “So why not help other people.”

The Wellbrock family, Wonder Woman League under United Way and Hays Med have come together to create a little black bag called Matthew’s Gifts.

Inside, there’s snacks, blankets, toiletries, candies, water bottles and more.

Co-Chair of the Wonder Women League Nancy Jeter said starting this week, families will begin to receive Matthew’s Gifts.

“We are giving Hays Med about 12 bags a week,” she said. “They will go to any families who have to be transported to another hospital from Hays.”

She said it’s hard for families to properly prepare for an unknown period of time away from home during emergencies.

So, they are all hoping this bag is used when times get hard, but it’s also a way to keep the memory of Matthew alive.

“He was a part of the family and always will be,” Curtis said.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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