Mathew Niesen with his family. [Facebook photo]

The Moab community is mourning the loss of Mathew Niesen, a father of four and Moab Valley Fire Department volunteer, who passed away on Jan. 23 at the age of 43. 

A social media post from the Moab Valley Fire Department says Nieson was off-duty at the time of his death, which followed an “unknown cardiac event.” Local first responders, including Neisen’s fellow firefighters, responded to the emergency call for Neisen and performed CPR, but were unable to revive him. 

Moab Valley Fire Chief TJ Brewer remembers Niesen warmly. They served together at the department for 18 years, ever since Neisen joined in 2005.

“He was one of the most kind, tender-hearted—you hear people say that someone would give you the shirt off their back, but Mat really was the essence of those words. He would do anything for anybody,” Brewer said. 

In addition to his kindness, Brewer remembers Niesen’s quick wit and his devotion to his community and his family. He remembers him holding his kids at firefighter picnics and always prioritizing his family. 

A dedicated firefighter, Niesen was not only diligent in training and operations, but also sought to support the department with creative ideas about how to recruit and retain volunteers, brainstorming housing solutions and grant possibilities. 

Other public safety entities also honored Niesen. The Grand County Sheriff’s Office made a Facebook post calling Niesen “our brother” as well as “a husband, a father, a son, and a hero.” Law enforcement saluted as a fire department escort accompanied Niesen’s remains to his funeral services on Jan. 30. 

Neisen was also active in other aspects of the community, including serving on the Board of Directors for the Moab Chamber of Commerce. 

Donations to the Niesen family can be made at Desert Rivers Credit Union in an account called Mathew Niesen Memorial Account, or at Zions Bank under the names of Mat or Amber Niesen. There is also a GoFundMe page at