At our First Responder’s Night event we had the opportunity to catch up with some of our 100 Club families and asked two of our family members a few questions about being a Legacy First Responder. Here’s an excerpt from our time with Joey Matthews, Cicero Firefighter, son of John Matthews, CPD, EOW 5/21/88.
What made you want to become a first responder and follow in your father’s footsteps? – For me, life has never really been a straight line. Not even close to it. I failed my way through high school and went to a junior college. While there, I was failing my way through that when 9/11 happened. I went with a bunch of buddies and enlisted in the Marines right away, I didn’t ship to boot camp until the following August though. Had a great time, met some great people, it was mostly an amazing experience and the bonds I made in war are untouchable to anything I’ve experienced since. After I got out, I went back to college, graduated with honors, worked a bunch of jobs that did absolutely nothing for me. I started testing at Police Departments, and honestly, my mom wasn’t down with that, so, I stopped. Then a buddy of mine from the Marines told me to test for a Fire Department he was on in Cicero, I did, and now I’m the first and only firefighter in the family…ever. I love it, it’s the closest experience I’ve had to what I loved about the Marine Corps, but with less 6-12 month long deployments!
What has your experience been like as a first responder, especially in the current environment? – Obviously cops and fire, we rib each other, it’s our thing. I almost feel guilty that I’m on the fire side when there’s so much hate from the public and media towards our family, friends, and neighbors that put the vest on and risk everything, every single day for communities that don’t appreciate them. My experience has been overwhelmingly positive as a firefighter, we engage our community, we show up on people’s darkest days and hopefully provide some light. It’s a shame that our cops are literally doing the exact same thing, saving people every day, but, we only see the things on the news when things don’t go well, and that bothers the heck out of me. I just want all of you to know that we love and appreciate you guys. Please keep coming home to your families every day!