ROSTRAVER, Pa. (KDKA) – If the measure of a man comes when he’s gone and is mourned, the growing memorial outside of Rostraver West Newton’s ambulance station indicates Matt Smelser was an exceptional human being.
There is not only a memorial to honor paramedic Matthew Smelser, but Governor Tom Wolf ordered all commonwealth flags on all state facilities to fly at half-staff Monday.
According to state police, Rostraver West Newton Emergency Services was on the scene of a crash on I-70 Sunday when one of their ambulances was hit by another vehicle. Smelser was killed in the accident.
“Matthew Smelser’s death is a tragic reminder of the risk taken by emergency personnel across the state each day to rescue Pennsylvanians in distress,” said Gov. Wolf in a press release.
Gov. Wolf also invited all Pennsylvanians to participate in the tribute. Now friends, family and coworkers are remembering Smelser.
“Very, very nice man and always wanted to do things for others. He was 100 percent with the patient,” said Mary Popovich, a friend.
Jody Winwood’s family was especially close to Smelser. Winwood’s children deal with epilepsy — Smelser’s one child also battling the condition. When Winwood called for help, Smelser was there.
“My kids were in disbelief,” Winwood said. “My 11-year-old said, ‘mom, I remember him giving me his phone and put Frozen on it just to keep me calm on one of our trips to Children’s.’”
As a paramedic supervisor, Smelser was driven.
He demanded as much from his crews as he did of himself. According to many, if Matt Smelser was working on you, you had a good shot.
If you were sick or injured, he was the face you wanted to see. No doubt.
All business sure, but beyond his job, Matt Smelser was a dad, husband and friend. Making his loss even more tragic and painful.