Born to an Army father and a civilian mother, Jim was raised in a constant military environment. The structure and order that life brought caused a rift between his father and himself, as he had a problem with the finite and simple morality that his father followed so closely to in his service in the Army. Despite this profound disdain for authority and structure, he craved to serve in some way. He trained for 8 years in Krav Maga, providing pro bono instruction and consulting to military and law enforcement personnel. Academically, Jim went to American University on a full academic scholarship, where he dual-majored in Geography and International Affairs. He would often take the opportunity to hike around the nearby Appalachian range, and was a member in a climbing gym nearby. In the summer entering his senior year, Matthews was admitted as an intern at Ensō International, an NGO focused around rehabilitation of governments that have suffered from widespread violence and disaster. The internship showed him a way to give back to the global community, without all the bureaucracy and red tape in the military and government.
After graduating, Jim took his skillset and experience to act as a liaison between Ensō and its governmental and military counterparts globally. He was sent to Chernarus in 2013, following their civil conflict and put in charge of a group of humanitarians that assisted law enforcement in deescalation and self defense techniques. He also worked closely with local government officials in South Zagoria to begin infrastructure reconstruction, as it was hit hardest during the civil war. Jim was also put to work on reducing government corruption running rampant in the transitional government at the time. He spent several "tours" there, rotating between the US for four months and Chernarus for eight months out of the year. On his 2017 tour, the one Matthews decided would be his last before going onto the next project, the world came crashing down.
When the outbreak started, Jim was working with a local police force in the town of Gorka, after some civil unrest there threatened a heightened risk to law enforcement. When Ensō informed him they were evacuating everyone, Jim refused to leave. Ensō personnel were scattered across the country, and they would never get out in time unless someone stayed behind. He worked tirelessly with his law enforcement and government counterparts to ensure everyone else form the NGO was evacuated. By the time it came around for him to leave, the ports were shut down, air traffic restricted, land borders blocked by neighboring countries. He was stranded in a country he did not belong to, but one which he was now forced to call home.