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Hometown Hero: John Matz

Law enforcement and military part of a life of service for John Matz. Two passions also shared by his son.
OSHKOSH (WFRV) One of the flags outside the Winnebago County Sheriff's Department proclaims--"Serving with Pride." That motto sums up Sheriff John Matz's career and life.

"Very team oriented, very service oriented towards helping people and in both of those careers that's what you do," Matz said.

In addition to over 30-years in law enforcement, Sheriff Matz served over 20-years in the Wisconsin Army National Guard. A combination that he admits was challenging to his family life.

"But certainly I did miss a lot of birthdays and Christmases. As long as the time you spend with your family is quality time, and I think the boys and I made the most of that. And we still continue to do so," Matz said.

For Sheriff Matz, quality time has meant sharing a passion for service with his son. Like his father, Johnathon Matz served in the National Guard and is currently a Dane County Sheriff's Deputy. When Johnathon was called to active duty in Iraq, Sheriff Matz stepped in to help.

"I was able to get back in and as a Master Sergeant with the sister unit, his sister unit of the same battalion," Matz said.

Father and son supervised a military prison and spoke everyday. With the exception of a few, tense moments.

"There were a couple of occasions where we were hit with indirect fire and I didn't know his status because it was in the area where he was working," Matz recalled. "And that was difficult as a father and as a solider, as a supervisor."

But father and son returned home to their families. Matz flew this Sheriff's Department flag in Iraq. It serves as a symbol of the experience that continues to shape their law enforcement careers and their lives.

"I am very, very thankful that I had the opportunity to serve with him in Iraq for a very noble cause and I think that we did make a difference, both of us," Matz said.

Local Five's Terry Kovarik has more.
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