Missouri Law Enforcement Funeral Assistance Team

Remembering a Fallen Hero

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One year after the tragic death of Cedar County Sheriff’s Deputy Matthew Chism, the

community along with those who served with him came together during a pair of ceremonies

designed to remember him and what he meant to Cedar County, the sheriff’s office and his

family. A private luncheon coordinated by the sheriff’s office for the Chism family and those

who served with him was followed by an afternoon ceremony outside the sheriff’s office in

Stockton Monday, Nov. 2. “It’s been an extremely hard year, we miss him terribly,” Chism’s

mother Pam said. “He would have been proud of Hunter.” Hunter is the 3-year-old son of Matt

and Ashley Chism. Matt’s father Rod teared up when he looked at Hunter and said, “The hardest

part, I see so much of Matt in Hunter.” “Hunter was his whole world. He was a very, very good

father,” Ashley said.

 

A prized family possession is a picture taken shortly before Matt’s death. It is of Hunter and

Matt together with Matt’s favorite rifle, which he used to go hunting. “He loved to hunt,” Rod

said. “We always went out deer hunting.” Ashley said she still has the 10 antlers from 10 prized

deer collected after successful hunting trips by her husband, Matt. “He was an excellent shot

with anything,” Rod said. Matt Chism was not only an excellent marksman and hunter, he lways

will be remembered as a fantastic father, husband and a prized son, as well as a quality officer.

“He was young, he was a rookie and he was gung-ho,” El Dorado Police Chief Jarrod Schiereck

said. “He was a blessing to every law enforcement agency in this county.”

“After Hunter came along, he and Hunter spent all the free time he had, playing with (each

other),” Rod said of his son Matt. “He was a big kid,” Pam said. “I would come home from work

and the house was in a mess, Hunter would still be in his pajamas and you knew they had a good

day,” Ashley said. “He loved to farm, he was all boy,” Pam said of her son. Ashley agreed,

adding once again, Matt loved to get outdoors to hunt and fish. She said he wanted to make sure

Hunter learned to love the outdoors, and farm, ranch, fish and hunt the right way. “He was an old

soul,” Pam added. Pam and Ashley said Matt loved to listen to old rock and roll and country

music. Matt’s love of the outdoors began when he was young. He was a Boy Scout and a future

farmer helping raise his parent’s cattle. There was one calf Matt raised to adulthood, his father

said, which ended up being Matt’s special cow — a cow he learned to ride as a child — and

which remained Matt’s until last November. The Chism’s property, land owned by Rod and

Pam, include a farm and cattle ranch, and covers about 250 acres. Future plans had Matt and

Ashley Chism building a house on the Chism family property. That memory and others are

special to the family. “God has been good to us, and even though we’re going through all of this,

he’s been there every step and moment of the way,” Ashley said. Matt Chism graduated from the

police academy in 2011, joined the sheriff’s office in 2012 and served until Nov. 2, 2014, when

he was killed in the line of duty attempting to complete a traffic stop and make a drug arrest. “He

loved Cedar County,” Pam said. As a deputy, Matt’s uniform had to be as perfect as he was as a

son, husband and father. “He took a lot of pride in his job and uniform,” Pam said. Both Ashley

and Pam said Matt was very particular and only he could iron his uniform before going to work.

The uniform and Matt Chism remain a part of Cedar County. “Matt knew everybody in town,”

Pam said of the outpouring of support from across Cedar County following his death. “People

were waiting for me in the driveway when I got home with food, tissue paper, household items,”

Ashley said. “People were banging down the door asking what could they do for me and

Hunter.” “The community has been amazing,” Pam said. Pam added a special memory for the

family was Les Kerr who came to Stockton to handle funeral arrangements. He arranged a

ceremony which brought not only the local community and sheriff’s office together, but included

more than 1,000 law enforcement officials and representatives from across Missouri and

neighboring states. “Everybody treated Matt with respect,” she said. His service to the

community as a sheriff’s deputy led to three major trips earlier this year, and unique memorial

services, for the Chism family. The family participated in trips to Washington, D.C., Branson

and Jefferson City for special services during which Matt was honored and the family recognized

for their sacrifice. Fundraising efforts, including Matt’s Run held during the spring, produced

about $20,000 which is going to the Matt Chism Fund for the Cedar County Sheriff’s Office. The

funds are being used for equipment and expenses designed to keep deputies safer and improve

the operation of the office. A gun raffle put together by Rod and others in Stockton raised

$4,115. The money went to the Barwick-Newton Law Enforcement Fund. “I’d like to thank the

community for their overwhelming support; you can’t believe how much support we’ve gotten,”

Rod said. Every year during National Police Week, the family members of a law enforcement

officer who was killed in the line of duty are honored as the officer is given a special plaque with

their name on it and space at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington,

D.C. The entire family is recognized and participates in an emotional tribute. The Chism family

participated in the 2015 ceremony. The Barwick-Newton fund pays for a family’s expenses

including airplane tickets and hotel stay related to the trip. Rod said he wanted to give back to

the fund for what it did for his family during its trip to Washington, D.C., and to ensure the fund

is there for other families who face a similar tragedy. For more information, visit

www.barwicknewtonfund.org. Ashley said the trip to Washington, D.C., the memorial service

and a tour of the nation’s capital was a special time. “I know I’m going to see Matt one day, and

you’ve got to hold on to that,” she said. “It’s been a long year,” Pam said of what has gone on

since Nov. 2, 2014. A long year for Pam and Rod Chism, Ashley and Hunter Chism and Matt’s

brother Joshua. “We’re going to try to make it through the holidays. I don’t know how were

going to do it, but we’ll do it one day at a time I guess.” Note: For information on the National

Law Enforcement Officers Memorial visit www.nleomf.org. </em>