12/28/1975 ~ 8/13/2018
Our hearts are aching with your parting from this earth. The thought of another day without your smile, the sound of your voice, or your presence is more than we can bear. It is so unbelievably hard to admit that you are gone from this world.
We know we must continue and carry forward the gifts you have given us during your life: service, kindness, generosity, and humility.
Your life began when you were born in Salt Lake City, on December 28, 1975. From the moment of your birth, you were destined to make a difference in the world. Your proud parents, Tom and Rose Burchett, looked upon you with pride and knew that you would change the world. You grew up in Midway, Utah, where you spent days with your siblings, Monica, Dominic, and Gina, playing in the fragrant green fields of farmland. You made rope swings and bike ramps and challenged your sense of fear and that of those around you. We believe this was the first inkling of your call to be a firefighter.
As a child, you were always initiating ideas and plans-some of which did not end well for those of us involved. Take, for example, the harrowing bike ride, where you sat on the back of your older sister's banana seat, and shouted, "Burn rubber, Monica!!." She did, you all crashed, and she has the scars to show for it. Or, when you designed a spectacular bike ramp, and convinced your younger brother, Dom, to test it out first (after all, he weighed less than you did, so it made perfect sense). Of course, the bike ramp was not without its flaws, Dom crashed, but you were immediately working on the re-design. And last but not least, you created a physical challenge for your younger sister to improve her sprinting skills. It went like this: Gina had 10 seconds to run as fast as she could before you began shooting at her with a BB gun. Your vision for what could always be over-powered our fear of what consequences might result. You had a way of helping us see what was possible, what we might be capable of, even if we had to suffer a little pain to get there.
As you grew into young adulthood, you attended Judge Memorial High School in Salt Lake City, where you made some life-long friends, sharing many adventures and mischief together. After you graduated in 1994, you discovered your passion for service when you were hired with Salt Lake County Wildland as a firefighter. You quickly excelled and in 1998, you worked the front lines with Logan Hotshots. There you developed an expertise in fighting forest fires, something that would set you apart for the rest of your career. During the winters, on your time off from fighting fires, your love for skiing lured you to working for Solitude Ski Patrol. The brotherhood of the ski patrol gave you a taste of what was yet to come in your future career.
1999 was a big year, you married the love of your life and your perfect complement, Heather, and were hired full time with Salt Lake County (Unified Fire Authority). With Heather by your side, you entered into this brotherhood spending nearly 20 years with UFA serving as a firefighter, paramedic and captain. During your tenure you served the communities of Magna, Holladay, and Millcreek as a station Captain, providing experience and helping others to recognize their potential-especially when they couldn't see it in themselves. You also worked stints in the fire training and emergency management divisions where your contributions will be utilized for years to come.
In 2011, your world was changed again when you and Heather welcomed your son Griffin, into the world. You were a patient and gentle father. You taught him the importance of kindness, generosity, acceptance, and many skills for life. Skiing, multiplication tables, mountain biking, and how to build and run a gourmet lemonade stand were just a few. You taught Griff how to "Matt-Gyver" the world.
In 2015, you had a set-back when you suffered a stroke. With this stroke brought a long recovery, and yet, you were still more capable and intelligent than most of us-using your creativity and ingenuity to build the home of your dreams.
2018 presented you with a difficult decision-to leave UFA and accept the position of Battalion Chief with Draper City. You accepted the challenge to grow professionally, to stretch and learn new things.
You loved to be outdoors, and never missed a chance to take us with you-to ski, hike, run, fish, ride a bike, or anything that involved fresh air and mountains. We know this is what fed your passion and drive to fight forest fires-you loved to be out there, in nature, among the mountains and the trees, being brave and helping people at the same time.
A fantastic life most would agree-and yet, your quiet and unassuming presence shied away from public recognition or praise. You were humble, quiet; you did things because you were called to do them and because they were right, not for attention. Matty, we love you, and we will only try to be stronger now that you are not on this journey with us. We will celebrate your life and will cherish what you offered us. The gifts you brought to this world: kindness, service, love, generosity, patience, creativity, and humility, are gifts we should all practice every day. We are so grateful for the outpouring of love and support from the communities in Utah, California and Nationwide. You help to remind us: don't ever be too busy to say I love you, tell people thank you and give them your gratitude. Live your life with your fullest passion and joy because it is the only one you have, and always, always, treat others with kindness and respect.
We love you Matt. From, Your loving family.
Funeral services will be held Monday, August 20, 2018, at 11 A.M.at the Maverick Center, 3200 Decker Lake Dr., West Valley City, Utah.
We would like to express our deepest gratitude to all agencies and communities involved in honoring Matt in his final journey. We are overwhelmed by the support and expressions of caring, it has provided comfort to us all. To honor Matty, the family asks that you hug your loved ones, get outside and enjoy what you love the most. If you would like to donate to the Burchett family, the Utah Firefighter Emerald Society has set up a donation site http://www.utahfes.org
Published by Deseret News from Aug. 17 to Aug. 18, 2018.