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Draper Journal

Burchett memorial bench will be ‘a place to process, in our own way, what sacrifice was made that day,’ according to fire chief

Sep 30, 2019 11:38AM ● By Mimi Darley Dutton

The bench was donated by Superior Equipment and Smith Steel Works, and Critical Laser completed the design and build.

By Mimi Darley Dutton | [email protected]

A bright red bench honoring Battalion Chief Matt Burchett was dedicated Aug. 16 at the Maple Hollow Trailhead in Suncrest. The site was chosen because of its proximity to Burchett’s home and to the outdoors, a favorite place for the firefighter and his family to spend time together. 

Burchett perished fighting a fire in the Mendocino Complex in northern California Aug. 13, 2018 while on loan from the Draper Fire Department.

Bagpipes played “America the Beautiful” as a color guard presented the American and fire department flags to begin the ceremony. The Fireman’s Prayer was read, including the words, “Give me strength to save…I want to fulfill my calling and to give the best of me.”

Draper Mayor Troy Walker spoke. “Remember the sacrifice and service of Matt. To everybody that knew him and loved him, we offer our condolences again. This is a great setting for this ceremony — I know Matt loved the outdoors,” he said. 

Walker went on to say that Burchett was representing Draper, the state of Utah and his family while working in California. “He was there to help. I don’t know that you can do better than that. It typifies everything that’s great about Matt — the willingness to serve. People can sit on this bench and think about Matt, reflect on a man who gave his life for other people.”

Fire Chief Clint Smith addressed Burchett’s wife, Heather, and his young son, Griff. “Heather is an amazingly strong person. I think I’ve found more strength from her than I’ve been able to give back. Griff, I see your dad in your smile. I appreciate you sharing that with us,” he said, adding, “This will be a place of peace for all to visit and I know it will be a place that I visit often.”  

Matt’s father, Tom Burchett, thanked everyone who has supported their family following their loss. Tom said he hopes he’s sitting on the bench someday when someone asks him who Matt Burchett was. “I’ll give them an earful,” he said.

Sandy Storms from Unified Fire Authority played “Amazing Grace” on the bagpipes at the ceremony’s conclusion. The bench was donated by Superior Equipment and Smith Steel Works, with the design and build completed by Critical Laser.