Monday, August 18, 2014
Engineer Matthew Schneider, 32, prides himself on being a “big joker” around the Summerville Fire Department.
“We have to around here,” he said.
Schneider’s been firefighting for 13 years, six of them with SFD.
He said he loves the career, but it can be difficult so it’s important to stay lighthearted at work.
His worst work experience was dealing with the Sofa Super Store Fire. “We lost nine that day. I knew two of the guys very well.”
Schneider got a tattoo to commemorate the disaster and his fallen friends.
He said his favorite part of being a firefighter is “seeing patients you worked on alive and out and about, back to their full life. It’s very rewarding.”
Schneider also likes doing public education and enjoys working with the children.
His love of children comes from his home life; Schneider has a 6-year-old son, Cooper, with his wife, Erin, who is a teacher. The family also has an “SPCA special” rescue dog, Jack.
On a day off, Schneider and his family enjoy going to a RiverDogs game in Charleston, attending concerts and playing at the park.
He also has a Harley-Davidson motorcycle and enjoys riding as a hobby.
Sometimes the family will use a day off to take spontaneous trips or just “enjoy the simple pleasures” at home.
Growing up, Schneider’s family moved around a lot while his father was in the Navy. They eventually settled in Goose Creek and after graduating from Stratford High School and going off to college for a time, he returned home to the area to raise his own family.
When asked about a life goal, Schneider said he’s happy the way things are and isn’t looking for change: “I’m pretty content with the way life is going.”
Professionally, his goal is to move up in the ranks at the fire department.
He has a variety of specialized training, including hazmat and automobile extraction. Schneider is also going to school online to earn a degree in fire science and business.
The engineer said he would also like to become a professor at the South Carolina Fire Academy one day.
For him, the passion in firefighting is being a public servant.
“I really like serving the public and seeing the impact we make. It’s rewarding to hear people tell you thank you.”