Sergeant Matt Capel-Cure Distinguished For Bravery
Story by Michael Seguin
Photography Courtesy of Windsor Police Service
On June 3rd, the skies burned over Amherstburg. On a dark night, a passing vehicle left the road, drove through a hydro line, crossed a lawn and crashed straight into an unoccupied bedroom of a house.
All this would have been dramatic enough, but during the collision, the vehicle also went through the home’s natural gas line.
“Initially, we received the call for the collision,” Matt recalls. “Fortunately, the people who lived at the house were not home, but neighbours were already crowding around the scene of the incident and they could hear the hiss of the gas spilling into the home.”
Matt happened to be the first on the scene. But in the few minutes it took him to arrive, the situation had escalated.
“The truck and the house had exploded just prior to my arrival,” Matt recalls. “When I arrived, the whole place was ablaze.”
Ordinarily, Matt would have evacuated the area and ensured that people retreated from the fire.
But before he could, he noticed that the driver of the vehicle was still in the flames.
“The truck had hit the house at a 90-degree angle,” Matt states. “And they were both on fire. The driver was laying right there, between the truck and the house.”
Matt had to act fast. The flames and the smoke were rising, and the person needed help.
So, without a second thought, Matt went in to pull the guy out.
“I didn’t go in alone,” Matt explains. “A man named Ryan Greenham came with me. We went into the area of the flames, took hold of the gentleman, and then moved him out of the danger. By then, more emergency services had arrived, so we were able to get him help.”
All told, it was an eventful night for Sergeant Matt Capel-Cure. But he reflects on the incident with
characteristic modesty—even an endearing level of embarrassment.
“I guess it was an intense night,” Matt admits. “It was harrowing, sure. But as officers there is an element of risk to our lives every day. We’re always wandering into unknown situations. But that night was certainly different for me. During situations that are that intense and that dangerous, you don’t really have time to think. Your mind calculates the risk and you just move.”
Fortunately, the Windsor Police did not share Matt’s reluctance to self-promote.
On July 24th, the Windsor Police held a ceremony to recognize Sergeant Matt Capel-Cure’s brave actions that evening. Windsor Police Chief Jason Bellaire presented him with a Chief’s Award of Excellence Coin. Essex-Windsor EMS Chief Bruce Krauter also presented him and Mr. Greenham with a meritorious service Coin for their courageous efforts for going above and beyond.
And even during his moment onstage, Matt chose to share the limelight. “I was adamant that Ryan Greenham, the civilian who braved the fires that night, was also recognized,” Matt states. “People kept talking about me, but it wasn’t just me in there that night. He was there, too. He helped me save that man’s life. He was as much at risk as I was.”
Still, even a man as modest as Matt took a moment to enjoy the moment.
“The ceremony was nice,” Matt admits. “Everyone likes being recognized for something they’ve done. But then again, there are plenty of emergency services professionals who demonstrate incredible bravery every single day who never get the credit they deserve. Our community is full of unsung heroes.”
And Matt is a man who was born to serve.
“Ever since I was a young man, I was involved in social agencies,” Matt states. “I’ve always been involved in organizations that serve the community. Beavers, Cubs Scouts. I later became involved in the Cadets, which got me involved in more comprehensive, patriotic service work. It always seemed like I was going to do some sort of service.”
After graduating St. Clair College, Matt went on to work as a Child and Youth Worker at the Greater Essex County District School Board. From there, he worked as a Paramedic at Essex Windsor EMS.
But through all that, Matt remained fixated on his ultimate goal: serving the community as a Police Officer.
“Policing was always, always my goal,” Matt states. “Right from the beginning. Even as a young child, becoming a Police Officer was always my dream. I can’t remember a time when it wasn’t my ultimate goal. Policing just seemed like something that was made for me.”
Matt credits previous roles as equipping him with the tools he needed to better serve his community.
“I always saw previous careers as a Child and Youth Worker and a Paramedic as a way to assist me in getting into the force,” Matt explains. “I was never really that tall and never really that big, so I knew I had to have an impressive resume in order to be accepted. And they both taught me so much. They taught me about psychology, they taught me how to keep my composure under stress.”
And even after upwards of thirty years in his dream job, Matt remains grateful to his hometown of Amherstburg for their gratitude.
“The community is always generous, always appreciative,” Matt explains. “Our community is grateful for all their services—Fire, EMS, that sort of thing. As much as police officers have been scrutinized lately, when I go out every day I still believe that the vast majority of people appreciate the work that the men and women out there serving them do. And we appreciate the opportunity to work for them.”
And now, after receiving his recognition, Matt goes back to doing what he does best: serving.
“I am two-and-a-half years away from retirement!” Matt explains. “After that, I may look at pursuing different things. I might try and transfer up to the city for different opportunities but ultimately, I still love—being a sergeant on patrol in Amherstburg.”