A career is a major aspect of many people’s lives. But for a lot of people, work-life and family life are separate.
That line is a little blurred for an entire family in Minot that’s dedicated itself to serving the community.
Career changes by Mark and Sheila Mathieson about two years ago turned their family of four into a family of first responders.
KX News got to meet with the Mathieson Family on what has become a rare occasion – they were all off of work on the same day.
“For a family of first responders, my biggest wish is that we just make it,” said Logan Mathieson, a probationary firefighter with the City of Minot.
It’s a very worthy thing to hope for, for the Mathieson Family.
Mark Mathieson explained, “I’m with the fire department. My youngest son is also with the fire department. My oldest son is a sheriff deputy. And then my wife is with the reserve deputies.”
Mark and Sheila Mathieson closed a plumbing business and took career paths they’d both been longing for.
“It’s in the blood,” Sheila Mathieson said with a laugh.
It’s got to be, right? The Mathiesons are split down the middle between Minot Fire Department and the Ward County Sheriff’s Department.
Mark said, “Now there’s a lot of friendly competition between police and fire, but it’s fun.”
The competitive camaraderie makes for a unique and fun family dynamic, but their unique arrangement means their agencies have to follow a – for most of us – unusual policy.
“They just won’t put us on the same shift in case something major were to happen,” said Mark. “It’s just, they don’t want us both on a big fire at the same time.”
The ‘for-good-reason’ scheduling is appreciated, but it also means fitting in family time can be tough.
Sheila is a land and air ambulance dispatcher, plus she’s the Reserves Captain at the Sheriff’s Department, which is where her son, Andrew Mathieson, is also a patrol deputy *and* where Logan was once a Corrections Officer.
“Christmas might be December 12th,” Sheila said. “That might be the day we celebrate, but that’s the choices that we’ve made as a family to do what we love doing and the sacrifices have to be made that way.”
But that coin has two sides because it isn’t always easy to leave work at work, with high-stress jobs as the Mathiesons have.
Fortunately, they always have someone to lean on.
“We talk after,” Sheila said. “Like, ‘is there anything you want to talk about? No? Yes? Ok.’ and you do have to keep a certain level of professionalism even at home. You don’t push, we just know.”
She worries, but says it’s worth it… especially in certain circumstances when she gets to patrol with Andrew.
“My mom’s pretty young looking so (people say) ‘oh is that your girlfriend?’ and I’m like … No. That’s my mom,” Andrew said. And all jokes aside, what the Mathiesons do means a lot to them.
“I think if you ask any of us why we wanted to do it,” Logan said, “it’s all going to be an answer along the lines of ‘I wanted to give back, I wanted to help others.'”
“I’m pretty proud of everybody. It’s a really cool thing,” added Andrew.
And it doesn’t end there. Andrew’s fiancee is also a paramedic, plus Mark’s brother was a police officer on the east coast for 10 years.
KX News to bring the Mathiesons lunch as part of our KX Gives Back initiative, to thank them for what they do.
But another thing that makes this family so fantastic … they said no thanks.
Instead, they asked that we bring it to Minot Fire Department.. so we did just that.
Tom Schrader, Karassa Stinchcomb and Becky Farr brought hot pizza on the very cold day to both the Minot Fire Department headquarters at Station 1 and to Station 3 up at Minot International Airport.
Station 1 didn’t get to eat it while it’s hot, because duty called and they had to head out nearly as soon as we got there.
That’s the nature of the job, though, and another big reason to say thank you to the men and women – including the Mathiesons – that are first responders in our community.