During this season of giving, one Evansville fireman is giving his time and commitment for children who otherwise would be missing out on the holiday fun.

Evansville firefighter Matt Garnett isn’t in uniform today. It’s his day off, and he’s spending it at fire Station No. 4 in Evansville with who he calls his second family. To put it simply, he loves fire station life.

“It’s a unique group of guys,” said Lt. Garnett. “I love being apart of the membership. Since I’m not a mechanic, I’m not a philosopher, I probably by default fall in the membership of prankster, so I enjoy that title.”

But as much as he loves being a firefighter, there’s some else he love even more, and that’s being there for others.

“I’ve always had a desire to give back or to help people,” said Lt. Garnett. “It’s always been apart of who I was. In fact, I went to college, I earned a degree teaching high school English, and I always felt like that calling. Again, I want to be a fireman, and that thing inside of me that wanted to serve.” 

“He’s always there,” said Chief Dan Grimm, “and ready to do a job if there’s a special project we may need assistance on. We can say, ‘Hey, can you give us some imput or give us some ideas?’ And he usually will go ahead and run with the ball and take care of it and see it through it’s completion.”

Garnett brings that same energy to 911 Gives Hope. During this holiday season, he and the organization are collecting toys for hospitalized children.

“To see a kid that’s laying in a hospital bed,” said Lt. Garnett, “and to walk in that room with a handful or toys and to know that someone is thinking about them, somebody cared to see them you know smile, it does more to my soul than I’m sure it does that kid.”

And although Garnett has been brightening up children’s Christmas for a few years, he says now that he’s a new father, giving back to others has given him a whole new meaning.

“Until you’re a parent,” said Lt. Garnett, “you just don’t know what love is. And this kid has provided a whole new perspective on giving and helping kids. It’s been very rewarding.”

And so we salute Lt. Matt Garnett for serving our community behind the badge.