Employee Spotlight: Matthew DeLeon

At Select, we take immense pride in our dedicated employees who go above and beyond to uphold our commitment to safety and excellence. Today, we shine the spotlight on Matthew DeLeon, a Maintenance Lead in our Chemical Services function, whose remarkable actions as a first responder during a raging grass fire exemplify the values we hold dear. 

Matthew DeLeon, a valued member of the Select family for nearly two years, has always understood the critical importance of safety in any job. Hailing from the fire-vulnerable town of Akins, Texas, Matthew’s upbringing ingrained in him an early awareness of the risks posed by fire. Growing up in a place without a formal fire department, he developed a deep sense of responsibility that eventually led him to become a volunteer firefighter during his high school years. This early exposure to firefighting and fire management equipped him with invaluable knowledge about handling such emergencies. 

CEO John Schmitz and Matthew DeLeon

On August 23, at 7:30 p.m., a potentially devastating grass fire broke out in Garden City, just off Highway 33. This rural area lacked the immediate resources to counter the spreading inferno. Matthew was on the scene as a first responder, and his quick thinking and decisive actions played a pivotal role in preventing the fire from spiraling out of control. 

Arriving at the scene when the fire was a mere 20 feet wide, Matthew wasted no time. His first action was to call for emergency assistance, ensuring that additional support was on its way. Drawing from his experience and training, he utilized a two-and-a-half pound extinguisher he had in his truck to contain a portion of the fire, buying precious time. 

As the situation intensified, the county Sheriff arrived on the scene, yet the fire had grown to a daunting 70 feet in length. Matthew, driven by his knowledge and guided by the safety training he received at Select, made a critical decision. Recognizing the need for more substantial firefighting resources, he advised the Sheriff to halt a passing water tanker truck. Matthew was well aware that these tankers carried larger extinguishers capable of tackling the blaze effectively. 

Thanks to Matthew’s astute judgment, the tanker was stopped, and with the combined efforts of the Sheriff and the tanker’s crew, the fire was successfully extinguished. In just 30-40 minutes, Matthew’s courage and resourcefulness transformed a potentially catastrophic incident into a manageable challenge. “As a first responder to the fire, my foundation of safety training empowered me to think on my feet, navigate uncertainty, and protect the community.” said Matthew.  

Matthew’s heroic actions did not go unnoticed. The local fire department appreciated his swift and efficient response. In acknowledgment of his extraordinary bravery and quick thinking, Matthew Deleon was rightfully awarded the prestigious valiant award by Select which recognizes employees who exhibit courage or determination in a single act. This accolade stands as a testament to his unwavering dedication to safety, his profound understanding of emergency management, and his willingness to put himself on the front lines to protect lives and property. 

 At Select, we are immensely proud of Matthew’s embodiment of community support and vigilant oversight, particularly in a tight-knit community like Garden City. 

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