Matt Dawson, a Lubbock Firefighter who was critically injured in the line of duty back in 2020, passed away on Sunday.

Dawson was critically injured while working the scene of a crash in North Lubbock back in January 2020. Lubbock Police Officer Matt Nicholas Reyna and Lubbock Fire Rescue Lieutenant Eric Hill were also working the scene and died in the line of duty.

Dawson suffered a traumatic brain injury in the crash and was left with long-term disabilities.

The crash occurred just before 9 a.m. near Interstate -27 and FM 1294. Officer Reyna was pronounced dead at the scene, and Hill died at University Medical Center.

Dawson returned home in August 2020 and became an advocate for the 5-5-5 Safety Initiative founded by the parents of Eric Hill.

The Dawson Act was passed the following May and allows first responders and their families benefits if injured in the line of duty.  Governor Abbott signed the act into law in June 2023.

Under the Matt Dawson Act, workers who suffer a brain injury in the line of duty are now eligible for lifetime wage benefits if the injury results in a “permanent, major neurocognitive disorder or psychotic disorder.”

In addition to expanding the range of injuries that qualify an injured worker for benefits, HB 2864 also provides benefits for volunteer first responders.

Dawson retired from the Lubbock Fire Department in April 2022 and was recognized as an Unsung Hero in Lubbock in June 2022.

Now years later Lubbock is saddened with the news that Dawson is now gone too.

City of Lubbock
City of Lubbock

Representative Dustin Burrows said he was “heartbroken” in an official statement in regard to Dawson’s passing. Burrows said he was “honored to join [his] colleagues to pass the Matt Dawson Act.” He also said that without Dawson, his wife Chanda and his fellow first responders, the Dawson Act would not have made it to the desk of Governor Greg Abbott.

Lubbock Mayor Tray Payne said Matt was a fighter in an official statement in regard to Dawson’s passing. Payne said “He fought through the injury, fought through rehabilitation and fought so hard, every day, to be there for his family. He did it all with a smile on his face and a positive attitude. I know that Matt is resting in the arms of his Savior. Thank you for your service, Matt Dawson and thank you for your sacrifice.”
The President of the Lubbock Professional Firefighters Association, Joseph Wallace released an official statement in regard to Dawson’s passing. Wallace said, “Lubbock firefighters mourn the passing of retired firefighter Matt Dawson. Matt will forever be an inspiration to us and to firefighters throughout Texas. After surviving a catastrophic line-of duty vehicle accident in January 2020 that left him with a traumatic brain injury and long-term health challenges, Matt fought back heroically – not only for himself and his family but also for all Texas first responders. Just six months ago, Matt was instrumental in the Texas Legislature’s passage of HB 2864 which improves health insurance benefits for first responders seriously injured on the job. Matt worked hard at the state capitol to help ensure that injured firefighters and police officers get better care in their recoveries. We will work in the days to come to honor Matt and his extraordinary legacy of service and sacrifice. Please keep the Dawson family in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.”

Lubbock Fire Rescue Chief Shaun Fogerson released an official statement in regard to Dawson’s passing. Fogerson said, “Lubbock Fire Rescue and the Lubbock community are heartbroken at the sudden and unexpected loss of our friend and brother, Matt Dawson. Matt was an amazing man and firefighter who displayed the true meaning of service above self. Since his accident in 2020, the Dawson family has spent every moment fighting to recover from his injuries and advocating for first responders injured in the line of duty. His bright smile and unbeatable spirit will be missed by all that knew and had the good fortune to work with him. We will never know the number of lives that Firefighter Dawson touched both in and out of the department., but we do know that his legacy, courage, and bravery will live on forever.”

Lubbock Fire Rescue said service arrangements are pending at this time and will be shared at a later date. We will keep you updated when that is announced.

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