Virginia Beach Fire Department, Virginia • Line of Duty Death: April 17, 2023
Virginia Beach Fire Department Fire Captain Matthew R. Chiaverotti passed away on April 17, 2023 after his battle with occupational cancer.
Chiaverotti was born and raised in Austin, Texas and lived in Norfolk, Virginia and various military bases in Pennsylvania, Florida, and Singapore along with his sister, Molly. Throughout his childhood, he was active in scouts and earned the honor of Eagle Scout. He was a great student and loved the outdoors, surfing, fishing, and sailing, as well as eventually teaching sailing lessons. Growing up, Chiaverotti’s father was a naval officer and was deployed for long periods of time. When his mother was not raising her children, she worked as a school teacher. While they were stationed in Singapore, Chiaverotti’s mother was in a vehicle accident, causing a traumatic brain injury which later resulted in her passing when Chiaverotti was 17 years old. Despite this, Chiaverotti continued to prosper. He attended the University of Maine and became an on-campus firefighter while earning his degree in Resource Economics. Upon graduating in 2002, he began with the Virginia Beach Fire Academy where he graduated as Valedictorian. One New Year’s Eve, he and his wife, Sara, met and shared an instant spark.
With his experience as a college firefighter, Chiaverotti found that fire service satisfied his need to express his great amount of energy in a helpful way. He loved serving his community and working alongside hard-working firefighters. He also loved to visit schools to teach about fire safety and inspire new generations to join the fire service. In addition to serving his community, Chiaverotti served as a Search Manager on the National US&R Response System, VATF2 FEMA team for several years. His main goals were to learn how to serve and protect his community and be an active part of a brotherhood, where he could learn and grow mentally, professionally, and physically. Upon being promoted to Captain, Chiaverotti poured his heart and soul into guiding, teaching, and leading his crews. Throughout his career, he earned the Medal of Honor and the Life Saving Award, each on three different occasions. He also earned the Commendation Award, Meritorious Conduct Award, and four Good Conduct Awards.He earned Team Recognition Ribbons from the FEMA Team and Technical Rescue Team. After being diagnosed with Anaplastic Thyroid Metastatic Carcinoma due to his career, Chiaverotti was asked if he had any regrets and his response was, “I would do it all over again.” He served an honorable 20 years.
Sara is currently living in the home she and her husband chose as their forever home with their 12-year-old son, Gus. She is a school teacher, however, in her free time, she loves to work in her vegetable garden, journal and read. Most of all, she loves spending time practicing baseball, as well as attending her son’s baseball games. In the future, Sara is most excited to spend time with Gus. The pair are just learning how to navigate the world without their loved one and be brave just like him. The Tunnel to Towers Foundation has taken an immense worry off of their already-full plates by paying off their mortgage, allowing them to remain in their beloved home. Finally, Sara would like others to know that her husband was a selfless human being who lived his life at a ten. He was an incredibly loving and empathic husband and father. He never met a stranger; his smile was welcoming and he was always willing to help anyone. One night, after putting out a fire in which all of a homeless man’s belongings were destroyed, Chiaverotti gave the man his personal belongings to replace those that had been lost. His legacy lives on in his beautiful son, who has so much love to share with the world and an immense amount of energy, just as his father did. He will be severely missed.
Virginia Beach Fire Department Fire Captain Matthew R. Chiaverotti is survived by his loving wife, Sara, and his beautiful son, Gus.