"Everyone has a job to do and you have to trust that everyone will."
Lieutenant Matt Hornbuckle
City of Joliet Fire Department, Illinois
Current Team X-Men of Illinois
Jersey # 22
On the Job | Our first Frontline spotlight shines on Lt. Matt Hornbuckle, a 20-year veteran of the City of Joliet Fire Department in Illinois. Matt is a Firefighter/Paramedic who joined the Joliet Fire Department in 2000. One of his influences for joining the fire department was having uncles in the fire service and seeing that family atmosphere growing up. Knowing that the "brothers" would always show up anytime someone needed help was something that he wanted to be a part of and become the one showing up to help others. One of the memories that stands out the most for Matt is of him and his crew pulling an adult and four children out of a structure fire. Moments like this are just one of the few that build up in a first responder's career and make having a stress relieving outlet like paintball so important. Over the years, Lt. Hornbuckle has received several letters of commendation for his life saving efforts, as well as his work on the fireground and accident scenes.
On the Field | Lt. Hornbuckle started playing paintball in 1988, with tournament paintball beginning for him in 1993. Teams Matt has played for include Thunderstruck and Chicago Outcasts, currently finding himself wearing #22 for X-Men of Illinois. A couple of Matt's favorite fields to play at are Badlandz Paintball Field in Crete, IL and Fox Paintball in Newark, IL. Over the years, his teams have garnered sponsorships from Immortal Air, Virtue, Bunker Kings, DLX, and Fox Paintball. One of Matt's favorite paintball memories is of taking 2nd place at the NPPL 10-man NYC Open in 1996. For Matt, paintball and the fire service go hand-in-hand. "With the team aspect of tournament paintball, when everyone does their job, you win. It's the same on the fireground. Everyone has a job to do, and you have to trust that everyone will."
Strictly Personal | Everything isn't all pike poles and paintballs for Matt. In addition to saving lives and slingin' paint, he's been married for 25 years and now has two grown daughters, both of which are just as athletic as him. One having been a championship collegiate hockey player, and the other being a tournament winning collegiate golfer. Matt grew up playing team sports like baseball, football, and ice hockey, and still plays hockey to this day. Tournament paintball was just another way for Matt to continue to compete at a high level as an adult.