By Trishna Buch
This week The Post is continuing its series of featuring every individual who has been selected to the Texas City Independent School District’s Foundation For The Future. This issue, we are highlighting Michael Matranga.
Matranga was elected to the Foundation’s Legacy Hall. Individuals selected to the Legacy Hall are graduates of La Marque High School, who have been successful in their careers and can be role models to current students of La Marque schools. The foundation is a 501c3 non-profit organization which was established to “support the educational programs for both students and staff” of TCISD. Furthermore, it also provides money to programs that have either been underfunded or not funded at all by the district’s operating budget.
If Matranga’s name sounds familiar, this is because his father is Anthony Matranga—mayor of Hitchcock and grandson to Tony Matranga former Commissioner and First Marshall of Hitchcock. When I spoke to him, Matranga told me he was born in Texas City and grew up in La Marque and Hitchcock. “My parents are divorced, so I split my time between the two cities,” he told me. After graduating from La Marque High School in 1995, Matranga told me he decided he did not want to go to college. “I wanted to immediately go out and get a job, so my father had a master plan.”
Matranga’s father’s masterplan was to have him work as a laborer at a refinery, with the hopes that he would change his mind about pursuing his education. However, following some personal medical issues, Matranga realized the best course of action would be for him to start attending college. Therefore, he began to take classes at the College Of The Mainland. “I want everyone to know how fortunate I was to attend this college. Most people believe you have to attend a four-year university to be successful in life, but that is not the case. The educators and opportunities provided to me by College Of The Mainland were nothing less than extraordinary.”
Matranga went on to say, “Though education is important it is equally as important to have individuals skilled in trades such as pipefitting, steam fitting, carpentry, line work, electricians and so on, they are the fabric of America and what makes us thrive and continue to prosper”.
However, though he was taking basic classes at the College Of The Mainland, it had always been his dream to be in the criminal justice field. “Unfortunately—for one reason or another—this dream was always unattainable to me. I always had aspirations to become a Secret Service Agent but people from our county just didn’t do those types of things so I always thought it was beyond me”. However, after being at the College Of The Mainland for one year, he realized this gave him the credits he needed to fulfill his dream. Before embarking on this journey, however, Matranga met his wife—Melissa—and joined her in attending Sam Houston State University.
After attending the university, Matranga began his career in Law Enforcement when he was an adult probation officer for Galveston County from 2001-2004. After three years of working for Galveston County he joined the Secret Service in Houston. This is when his career took off. He told me that, between 2005 and 2007, he was part of the Counterfeit Currency Squad. Following that, from 2007 to 2010, he was part of the United States Secret Service Fraud Task Force. It was during this time he was assigned as the Galveston County Secret Service liaison Agent. In this capacity it was his job to work hand in hand with all of the local police departments and provide assistance to them. He stated ‘This was by far one of the most fulfilling things I have had the pleasure of doing, this was my county and I felt compelled to give back and assist anyway I could”. Then, from 2010 to 2011, he was part of the Protective Intelligence Squad. “In this capacity we were required to investigate threats made to the president, first family and any Secret Service protectee.”
In 2010, he was selected to try out for the Secret Services, Counter Assault Team (CAT) in Washington DC. This program was designed by the Secret Service and members of an unnamed elite Tier 1, Special Operations Group in 1979. Since its inception there have been less than 550 men to hold the title of Counter Assault Team Operator, Matranga is one of less than 500. After two failed attempts Matranga finally obtained the title and was assigned to Charlie, Team’s 5 & 6. He was part of this team from August 2011 to October 2015, during which he became an Assistant Team Leader. Following this, he was part of the Presidential Protective Detail (PPD) from 2015 until August 2016. “Another huge accomplishment for me was in 2008, when I spent 18 months as a member of then Senator Barack Obama’s campaign trail,” Matranga told me.
Matranga takes great pride in his accomplishments. And, take pride, he should. Through his career with the Secret Service, Matranga has traveled to 6 continents, 27 countries, 3 war zones and 46 states.
Matranga currently resides in Las Vegas and works as a Special Agent for the Department of Interior. He told me he chose to resign from the Secret Service because, although he loved the work, he did not enjoy being away from his family. “With this job I am able to be around for my daughters’ when they need me most and attend their sports games and school events.” He is also heavily involved in his church as a youth leader mentoring mostly 8th grade young men.
“If I could tell the students of Texas City ISD one thing, it would be to never give up on your dreams. The only thing that will hold you up from accomplishing these dreams is fear. So you need to find the courage to brush off that fear, get up and try again, it’s that fear of failure that is keeping you from your destiny”.
And Matranga wanted to credit his wife for being a major catalyst in helping him go after his dreams. “She has always been a huge support and is the strongest woman I know. Since my job took me away from home often, she had to take care of both our daughters alone a lot of the time. Along with this, she was also working as a teacher and obtaining her Master’s Degree in Administration, I do not know many women who can do this.”
The Post congratulates Matranga on his selection to the Foundation’s Legacy Hall!