True Stories of Courage and Valor: The Story of Matt Davidson, Flight Paramedic
- February 05, 2019
- Marco Derhy
Wherever you are in the spectrum be that very best you can be. I believe people gravitate and will follow a leader that wants to be good to his or her people.
I had the pleasure to interview Matt Davidson. Matt is a husband and custodial father to two young men. He is a Lieutenant Firefighter, Paramedic, Flight Paramedic, Rescue Diver, Hazardous Materials Technician and Extrication Technician for Greenwood Fire Department and Indiana University Health LifeLine. He started this journey when he joined The United States Navy in 1991. He went in the Navy designated as a Corpsman ( a medic). At the completion of my initial training, Davidson and a class mate from Medical Corps school challenged each other to continue to be physically fit and attempt to go “green side” Navy. This is a reference to Corpsman who want to go to serve with the United States Marine Corps in a combat medic role. They wear their uniforms, learn the discipline that comes with the USMC and deploy with them.
Having been a runner and a swimmer in his high school days, he quickly ended up with a reconnaissance unit with the 2nd Marine Division at Camp Lejeune, N.C. This is a special warfare unit known for amphibious operations with primary missions in observing and listening without being seen or noticed. The secondary mission is direct action. After some time with Recon, he volunteered to move to a second special warfare unit that was specific to Boats. There were more amphibious operations, but with a riverine specialty. They moved reconnaissance elements into rivers and waterways in South and Central America where they spent time looking for clandestine drug labs and routes of travel for drugs coming up from those areas to the United States.
During his time in the service, he had deployments to many countries, around 18 or so. Mogadishu and Somalia were the longest. Davidson did some other work in and around places like Israel, Bosnia, Greece, Turkey, Italy and Tunisia to name a few. After six years of service he left the military and became a student. Davidson received his degree from Indiana University with an AS in Paramedic Science. Between the military and the fire service he has also been a Sheriff’s Deputy locally as their SWAT medic and officer. Once accepted into the Fire Department, he stayed on one side of public safety and will soon finish his 19th year. He also races dirt bikes in long distance cross country races, like the Baja 1000.
Can you tell us a story about some of your experiences as a paramedic?
My initial love for the job came how many would imagine, I was a younger man of maybe 17 when I witnessed a traffic accident where the driver was ejected. I had recently taken a lifeguarding and first aid class in school and I was able to render aid until the “pros” arrived. And of course the influence of the television show EMERGENCY.
Another time, we flew to the scene of a farm accident involving a young man with both of his legs entangled in an auger. We arrived to find him awake and alert to what was happening. The local fire department had freed him just minutes before. Both legs were badly broken in multiple places. The initial exam of one leg showed it didn’t have pulses. If left uncorrected he would lose the foot or leg. I had to do a field reduction of the leg to return blood flow. He is walking and farming to this day.
Can you share your story of Courage and Valor?
I stood up next to my son and vowed to fight alongside him after he was diagnosed with cancer. I stared down an almost insurmountable set of circumstances and had to make it look like I was holding it together. Not what you probably expected, but the hardest day of my life. Makes my time in recon look like preschool.
Based on your experience, can you share 5 pieces of advice about how one can become a hero in their own life? (Please share a story or example for each)
I don’t know about hero….I think of it more like just being a solid person.
1. Love your Country!
I will still salute the flag on occasion just because I should and I can
No matter what you have seen in life or what path you have taken, share your experiences.
3. Learn from the past but don’t dwell in it.
Let the past be the past. Learn from it and move on.
4. Scare yourself once a week.
Try new things, push the limits, and get yourself uncomfortable
5. My grandmother used to say “whatever you are, be a good one”
Janitor to a CEO, Student to professor, Private First Class to Sargent First Class. Wherever you are in the spectrum be that very best you can be. I believe people gravitate and will follow a leader that wants to be good to his or her people.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped you when things were tough? Can you share a story about that?
My grandfathers were tremendous influences in my life. Both veterans of foreign wars, Glen, Korea and Zeke, WWII. They were the greatest generation. Hard working people. Worked with their hands and used those same hands to hold hands with their wives through many years of marriage. Maybe I’m an “old soul” But I see them, even in their absence as what men should be.
My wife Stacie. She is a torrent in her fight locally and federally with environmental issues as they relate to childhood cancer. She is changing federal laws. She goes to Washington D.C. and speaks. She is a professional woman. Smart, cute, loyal. She loves our boys as if they were her biological sons. She helped me raise them since the ages of 10 and six. She is my rock.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
We are still working to change definitions with the CDC for the description of cancer clusters. Once this is done the first implementation of Trevor’s Law, a part of the Frank R. Lautenburg Chemical Safety Act, will be in a local community. We’re hoping to bring some funding and research to a community with almost 60 kids diagnosed with rare forms of cancer all clustered around one city. My youngest son was one of them. He is now in remission.
We also continue to operate a not for profit that encourages more funding for childhood cancer research. Currently it’s only 4 cents of every dollar.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.
Bring back and teach patriotism.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
Shoot straight, don’t lie, be a man — -Nelson (Zeke) Elmer Davidson
How can our readers follow you on social media?
Facebook — Matt Davidson
Twitter — mdavidson480
True Stories of Courage and Valor: The Story of Matt Davidson, Flight Paramedic was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.