On November 2, 2020, we learned about the unfortunate passing of one of our own. LifeNet Paramedic Shon Matthews had worked in our Texarkana Division since October of 2007.
During his 48 years on this earth, Shon led a life devoted to service above self in everything he did.
Prior to working for LifeNet, Shon spent nearly two decades working at Alumax Mill Products, as both union president and a finishing operator before a family accident inspired Shon to change career paths.
Within a few months of the accident, Shon joined the Booker Bridge Volunteer Fire Department in Miller County, Arkansas, as a first responder. Shortly thereafter, he also became part of the first responder team at the mill where he was working full-time. Through the training he took at the mill, Shon met a paramedic working at LifeNet who told Shon he was a “natural” fit for EMS and encouraged him to consider a career as a paramedic.
Shon decided to start EMT school and began working for LifeNet EMS part-time in 2007 as an EMT while continuing his education to become a paramedic.
In March of 2009, Shon joined LifeNet full-time, and a few years later, he was promoted to a field training officer role. He quickly proved himself as an asset in that position, and in May of 2013, when one of the company’s Operations Managers (OMs) was deployed overseas, Shon was selected to temporarily fill that role for nine months.
When it was time for Shon to return to his role working as a ground paramedic, the LifeNet Air medical helicopter in Texarkana had a position open. Shon was asked to fill-in as a flight medic.
Shortly thereafter, Shon was asked to help his family start a business. He briefly stepped away from a full-time career in EMS. During that time period, Shon still worked call-in-relief for LifeNet as a paramedic.
After six months working in the family business, he realized his heart wasn’t in the business, it was in EMS.
In June of 2016, Shon was offered a full-time role as a flight medic on LifeNet Air. It was a job he had dreamed about having since starting in EMS. Less than a year later, a full-time opening came up for an Operations Manager (OM) role.
“I spent a few weeks doing some soul searching before applying because it was always my dream to be a flight medic,” he said in a 2019 interview. “But I’ve also always been taught that if you want to make a positive change, you have to try to get in the roles to make a positive change, so I applied for the OM position.”
In August 2016, Shon was promoted to OM for LifeNet’s Texarkana Division, while also continuing to work as needed on the LifeNet Air medical helicopter.
In 2019, Shon’s dedication and commitment to doing whatever the company needed to take care of patients and to serve the community inspired his colleagues to nominate him for the Star of Life award. That summer, Shon represented LifeNet in Washington D.C. at the American Ambulance Association’s Star of Life event. During the trip, Shon posted so many selfies on social media of him across our Nation’s Capital, that he earned the nickname “The Selfie King”.
In the summer of 2020, Shon was promoted to Area Manager, where he was responsible for overseeing LifeNet’s operations in Morris and Cass Counties.
When Shon was not working full-time in one of the aforementioned roles, he was working to both educate the community on safety and to also build the next generation of EMS professionals. In addition to teaching ground schools to local first responders for LifeNet Air, Shon also taught BCLS, ACLS, ITLS, PEPP, and pediatric first aid. Additionally, he was an instructor in the EMT and Paramedic programs at Texarkana College.
Outside of EMS, Shon was a devoted family man. He adored his wife, Jennifer, and their children, Nicole and Derek.
Shon was also an active member of Fairland Holiness Church, where he served as a Sunday School teacher.
His passing leaves a hole in the hearts of those he worked with that will never be filled. The positive memories he leaves behind him through his dedication to serving others will help heal our hurt as time goes on and we mourn his passing.
Shon Dwayne Matthews, age 48, of Fouke, Arkansas, went to be with the Lord on Monday, November 2, 2020.
Shon was born November 23, 1971, in Pineville, Louisiana. He was a member of Fairland Holiness Church and was Area Manager for LifeNet. He was preceded in death by his grandparents, Willie John Matthews, Sr., and Leo and Nellice Cole.
Survivors include his wife, Jennifer Long Matthews of Fouke, Arkansas, one daughter and son-in-law, Nicole and Stetson Green of Mt. Airy, North Carolina, one son, Derek Matthews of Fouke, Arkansas, his parents, Willie and Vergie Matthews of Texarkana, Arkansas, two sisters, Misty Matthews and Cortney Matthews of Evansville, Indiana, his grandmother, Gladys Matthews of Haughton, Louisiana, his father and mother-in-law, Jim and Eva Long of Fouke, Arkansas, one brother-in-law and two sisters-in-law, Jeff and Tresa Long of Fouke, Arkansas and Jessica Long of Corinth, Texas, three nephews, Madison Long, Austin Long, and Dustin Long, one great niece, Brooklynn Long, and a number of other relatives and friends.