By all accounts, Matthew Jansen is just a regular guy. He has a wife, an adorable baby, and a job that keeps him busy. He loves spending time with his friends in the Texas heat, making jokes and having fun.
Regular. Normal. Average.
Except that he isn’t.
Matthew is a protector. He doesn’t like ignoring that there are people that need help. He wouldn’t call himself that of course, because, like all the people like him he is also humble. He says he is just doing the right thing, but Matthew doesn’t just do “the right thing.” He goes above and beyond. He seeks out training and knowledge to better prepare himself for situations he may find himself in.
When I asked him about the equipment on his work truck, he explained that he actively seeks out the correct way to use all of it. Whether it’s the instructions that came with it or a YouTube video. He doesn’t have a first aid kit still wrapped in the plastic wrap it sat on the shelf in. He has a bag filled with gear he is familiar with. Gear he has trained with. Gear he is ready to use to help others.
It’s no surprise that Matthew has taken a few of Sheepdog Response’s classes. Training is what Sheepdog does best. Putting the tools to protect themselves and those around them in “regular” people’s hands. Sheepdog Response’s mission is help others “preserve and protect human life”, and the instructors and students truly embody that.
Matthew is no exception.
While driving home from work he stopped at a four-way intersection in the middle of nowhere. In front of him were two stopped vehicles. One driver had parked to push what looked like a truck that had over heated to the side of the road. As Matthew slowly drove his work truck past the scene, he saw owner of the disabled truck pop his hood, flames erupting from the engine compartment.
Matthew quickly pulled his truck in front of the disabled vehicle, jumping out with his fire extinguisher in hand ready to help. Ready to do what all protectors do. Rushing over, he pulled the pin quickly dousing the flames and putting the fire out.
According to Matthew it was “no big deal” but the owner thanked him profusely for being so prepared, he was having “the worst day ever”. Matthew knew exactly what he needed to put out the fire and where to find it. The owner, on the other hand, was searching through his truck for two water bottles to use to put out the fire. He wasn’t prepared for an emergency at all.
The other man, who had initially helped move the disabled truck to the side of the road, just stood by and watched. “I was about to pull out my phone and start filming,” he mumbled as they watched steam rise from the engine.
They were soon joined by local law enforcement who informed them that the nearest Fire Department was at least ten minutes away. The car would have been a total loss! While I’m sure the video would have gotten hundreds of likes on social media, I know the owner is much happier that there are people like Matthew, prepared and ready to help.
So, what is the point of this story? Is it to tell you how amazing Sheepdog students are? Not really even though they are! The point is that being prepared, being cool under pressure, being willing to help your fellow humans, is something we should all strive for. Better yet, it isn’t hard to start becoming that person, it just requires some training and hard work.
Let us get you started…