Matthew and K-9 Marley
My name is Matthew Banyai, I’ve been a St Paul firefighter for 14 years. I’m also a 21 year veteran of the Air Force. I enlisted in June of 2003 as a Aeromedical Evacuation Technician or commonly known as a Flight Medic. I spent my first 15 years in the AF in this career field. The last 6 years, I have served as a firefighter.
During my time as a flight medic, I was able to deploy a couple of times and go on quite a few real world missions. During my second deployment in 2012, all of the trauma I had seen treating and transporting soldiers and civilians in my careers, started to severely impact me.
I was deployed to a location where I could drink on my off days. I spent most of my off time hanging with my coworkers and drinking.
When I came home, I added a healthy activity of running. Over the last 10 years, I used both alcohol and running to suppress my thoughts and feelings, hoping to balance everything out. In the spring of 23, it became apparent to me and my family and friends, that it was time for a change. I was done struggling and hurting the people who mean the most to me. I knew my family deserved a better husband and dad. I went to Rehab and was diagnosed with Depression, Anxiety, PTSD, and Alcohol use disorder. I’ve been sober and doing okay since returning from Rehab. The addition of getting my dog Marley to be trained as my service dog will be incredibly helpful for me. He has always been very conscious of people's need for attention when they are down and having that support at work and when I am out among people I feel would help me cope with feelings of anxiety and stress.