Matthew D. Blankenship

Matthew D. Blankenship

On July 13, 2013, while fighting a structure fire, Matt and his partner were briefly trapped in the building. Rescued by fellow firefighters after his partner made it out, Matt suffered severe burns and was airlifted to Mercy Hospital Burn Center in Springfield, Missouri. He passed away on July 20, 2013.

Matt was born May 5, 1975, to Bruce and Flecia Blankenship, the oldest of three boys. Known as the daredevil, Matt would try anything once. His brothers looked up to him for his physical strength and his strength of character. His fondest childhood memories were of hunting, fishing, and spending time with family. At age 14, Matt started working at the local quarry. He always had the desire to work, and helping others was in his blood. Matt graduated from Marshfield High school in 1993, following in his dad’s footsteps to become a diesel technician. He worked at Peterbilt of Springfield for 20 years, where he loved hearing the engine fire up after being in pieces just hours before.

Matt joined the Marshfield Fire Department in April 2009. He said, “I wish I would have started this a long time ago. I feel like I have wasted my life not helping others.” By November 2009, he was promoted to engineer. He was awarded Rookie of the Year and then Firefighter of the Year in 2010. Matt became a certified first responder, Fire 1 & 2, HAZMAT awareness and instructor. Matt always had a smile on his face and led by example. Chief (Hobo) Jeter said, “Matt was the kind of firefighter that, if I told him to paint the firehouse red with a toothbrush, he would have done it, done it right, and never complained.”

Although Matt was shy, he easily became close with his fellow firefighters, whom he thought of as his second family. He worked closely with the cadets, including his daughter Brooke, providing positive instruction and reinforcement. You could count on Matt to share his honest opinion, followed by a handshake or a warm hug. He was genuine and truly cared.

Matt’s greatest passion was his family. He was a devoted husband to Amanda for 17 years and a loving father to Brooke, Megan, and Dylan. His love for them radiated. It was important to him to be a good provider and instill good values in his kids. He never left without kissing them goodbye and tucked them in every night. He worked in the yard with his son and played dolls with his girls. Strong in his faith, he was a youth leader and Sunday school teacher who loved those kids as if they were his own.

Matt was a loving and devoted husband, father, son, brother, and friend. His teachings, values, and memories live in the hearts of many.