Firefighters’ Bucket Brigade Spotlight on Matt Wiessman and Tricia Schnettler

When local fire departments heard the American Red Cross needed help raising funds they stepped up to support the efforts again during a time when increased need has exhausted the disaster response budget here in Northeast Wisconsin. Local firefighters and American Red Cross volunteers have partnered together to ask the community to “invest in the positive” at the Firefighter’s Bucket Brigade for the American  Red Cross on Thursday, May 26, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. These dedicated partners, that support their neighbors in times of disaster, are partnering up to ask their community to be Heroes during this fundraiser.

We always want to know more about our heroes and partners so this year we are spotlighting supporting firefighters and  Red Cross Disaster volunteers. You might only see these partners together during a disaster response or during the Firefighters’ Bucket Brigade for the American Red Cross so we are happy they took the time to answer our questions. Our first two heroes, Matt Weissman and Tricia Schnettler, were inspired by parents to be heroes.

Matt Wiessman, Firefighter at the Village of Howard Fire Department, is our first 2011 firefighter spotlight. Matt has been with the Village of Howard Fire Department for a year and been a firefighter for eight.

When did you know you wanted to be a firefighter? I knew I wanted to be a firefighter since I was little and had my first toy fire truck.  As I got older the influence of my cousin, a firefighter in AZ, instilled the desire in me to continue my dream.

What do most people not know about your job? Often times people think that we just put out the fires and go home.  However there is a lot more behind the scenes than people think; countless hours of training, preparing for different fire scenarios, working with the community, time spent away from our families & supporting other organizations.

What are you most proud of?  I am most proud of being a part of the Howard Fire Department and feeling the camaraderie of the community & fellow firefighters.

Why are you volunteering to participate in the Firefighters’ Bucket Brigade? It is such an important event for us as part of the community to give back and help others when they are in need.  I feel the Bucket Brigade is something little I can do to show my support and raise awareness in my area.

What have you learned about the Red Cross by working with them? The Red Cross is an organization that provides so many services for people in need at unexpected times.  At the same time they help make our jobs as firefighters easier by supporting us while we do our job and continue to take care of those family’s external needs.

Who’s your Hero? And why? The Hero in my life would have to be my father. He is a strong minded, multi-talented person who, no matter what, never gives up on the things he wants out of life. He has always said to me, “You can be or do whatever you want as long as you put your mind to it.”

Tricia Schnettler, from Sheboygan Falls,  joined the American Red Cross as a volunteer 6 months ago.

What inspired you to volunteer for the Disaster Team? I was inspired to join the Disaster Team because I have always enjoyed helping people and this gives me the opportunity to do that.

What would you tell someone who’s thinking of being an American Red Cross Volunteer? Volunteering with the Red Cross is an excellent opportunity to give back to our community and help people in need. There is no greater reward in life than knowing that you can make a difference.

What impact have you seen in your community because of American Red Cross Services? I have seen first hand the assistance that the Red Cross provides to people affected by fires, storms, flooding, or whatever disaster may occur. It’s great to know that we have the Red Cross support in our community to help out when it’s needed.

What do most people not know about you? One thing most people don’t know about me is that my husband and I are sponsors for a little girl in Haiti. It’s a great feeling knowing that we are making a difference in her life.

What are you most proud of? I would have to say that I am most proud of being able to help others. Not only do I volunteer for the Red Cross but I also volunteer for other organizations and events in the area. I have always felt the need to put others first and do whatever I can big or small to help people in need.

Who’s your Hero? And why?I have two heroes in my life and they are my parents. My parents have been the best role models anyone could ever ask for. They taught me to be the person that I am today.

Thank you Matt and Tricia for your time and dedicationAlso … many thanks to the heroes that inspire you to be heroes.

To find where to spot on of our heroes, at a Firefighter’s Bucket Brigade location, please visit

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