January 30, 2017 10:00AM
When he decided to enroll at Pittsburg State University, Matt O’Malley knew he’d receive a quality education. He knew a degree from the Kelce College of Business would serve him well in his professional career.
What he didn’t necessarily see coming was a lesson in life that would lead him down an unexpected path.
“I wasn’t just a number at Pitt State,” he said. “I was a name. My teachers knew me. They helped me when I needed it, like they help all of their students. I had a chance for one-on-one time with people who could help, and I always wanted to be able to do that for others.”
O’Malley, who earned a bachelor of business administration from PSU in 2008, is combining his business education and passion to serve in his new role as director of The Lord’s Diner in Pittsburg. The Lord's Diner is a nonprofit kitchen operated by and for the community. Free meals are served from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. every day.
The Lord’s Diner at 406 N. Locust, one of several in Kansas supported by the Catholic Diocese of Wichita, opened in January and is already serving nearly 100 people per day. O’Malley expects those numbers to quickly surpass 200.
And with each day and every meal served, O’Malley knows that helping others was his true calling in life.
“I was born and bred to work at my family’s car dealership,” he said, “and I did that for a while. But it wasn’t for me. It wasn’t my passion. What I really felt called to do was help people in need, and I’m incredibly honored and humbled to be able to make a difference right here in my hometown.”
After graduating from Pitt State, O’Malley spent six years in the Kansas City area helping to run a nonprofit organization focused on eliminating hunger. When he learned The Lord’s Diner was opening in Pittsburg, he knew immediately he wanted to bring that nonprofit experience back home.
“I love this community, I love the people in this community and I wanted to help make Pittsburg an even better place for all who call it home,” he said. “So when I knew that The Lord’s Diner in Pittsburg was going to be a thing, I reached out to throw my name in as its potential director. I just knew this was the perfect position for me.
“Sometimes you just have to jump out on that first stepping stone and have faith that the next one will arrive,” he said. “That’s what I did, and it led me to this. I feel so incredibly blessed to have this opportunity.”
And while it’s not at his family’s car business, O’Malley said he puts his PSU education to use every day.
“In my position, I’m dealing with ordering and budgets and bills and accounting and all of those things that go into running a business,” he said. “Looking back at my time at PSU, I’m glad my business courses were challenging and intense. I’m glad we were pushed to be our best, because those lessons are helping me and The Lord’s Diner be successful every day.”
For more information about The Lord’s Diner, visit its Facebook page.