Matthew David Bennett was born December 23, 1970, in, Indianapolis, to proud parents, Rosanne Banich Bennett and Sylvester Walter Bennett Jr. Matt’s childhood dream was to become a fireman. One of his mother’s fondest memories is when four-year-old Matt dialed 911 to report a fire in the neighborhood just to see the trucks race by en route to the imaginary fire. This resulted in a visit from the local sheriff to remind a tearful, repentant boy the importance of calling 911. As a teen, he joined the Explorer Scouting Program that allows youth to specialize in fire and rescue. His passion flourished as he was exposed to mentors and opportunities to explore the world of firefighting. Matt built lifelong friendships and continued to follow his dreams as a junior firefighter and cadet.
A 23- year veteran firefighter and dedicated public servant of 38 years, Matt became a Wayne Township reserve firefighter in 1982. In 1997, he was appointed to the Franklin Township Fire Department and later to the Indianapolis Fire Department when Franklin Township merged with IFD in 2010. Prior to his appointment, Matt was an IFD dispatcher and EMT. His years of service made him a well-respected, well-loved mentor and educator within the firefighting community.
In 2004, Matt welcomed his daughter, Samantha Rae, with her mother, Lee Ann Bennett. Samantha became the joy of his life, sharing daddy-daughter dances and a love of country music. Samantha loved when he sang along with the car radio, motorcycle rides, and visiting him at the firehouse, learning early her father’s passion for firefighting.
When Matt was not fighting fires, he enjoyed riding his motorcycle. He was always ready to take his RV out and dreamed of traveling the country when he retired. Matt had a personality bigger than life and could be heard a mile away. He was often the planner for family functions and looked forward to the annual Fire Department Instructors Conference and St. Patrick’s Day. He was always busy around the house, and household supplies were always available, as he loved to bulk shop. To maintain his figure, Matt enjoyed Diet Mountain Dew, gas station hot dogs, Qdoba, and Long’s donuts. Known as “Grape Ape” by his friends and as a practical jokester, Matt always found ways to have fun. Matt loved his family and friends and was a reliable presence in his community, always ready to help.
Matt is survived by his daughter, Samantha; his mother, Rosanne; sister, Jennifer Ann Bennett; brother, Jeffrey Alan Bennett (Jonalyn); nephew and niece, Deandre and Joie Bennett; grandchild, Grace Robinson; and his brothers and sisters of the Indianapolis Fire Department.