Officers stand guard over deputy who died from cancer

Posted at 12:50 AM, Nov 29, 2015
and last updated 2015-11-29 00:52:05-05

GRANDVILLE, Mich. — The Ottawa County Sheriff's Department is mourning the loss of one of their own, 39-year-old Deputy Matt Chatfield, who lost his battle with stage four colon cancer on Thanksgiving day.

"He's a person that would do anything for everybody, and that's what were going to miss about him" says Sgt. Jeff Steigenga of the Ottawa County Sheriff's Department.

Steigenga is one of several officers from the Ottawa County Sheriff's Department  who are volunteering their personal time to sit outside the Cook Funeral Home in Grandville and stand guard over their fellow officer. Each officer will fill four hour shifts, 24 hours a day, leading up to Chatfield's funeral.

"We can all take a turn and be with our friend Matt when he needs us most" said Steigenga. . He is part of our family at the sheriff's office. Everybody was more than welcome to do this for free."

Throughout his shift, this Steigenga said he hasn't been alone. People, some with tears in their eyes, have been stopping by to make sure everything's alright.

"We've gotten plates full of cookies, coffee, some pops, and stuff like that. Some people just shaking our hand to say thank you," Steigenga said.

It would be 13 months before colon cancer would claim Chatfield's life. A cancer diagnosis did not slow Chatfield down.

"You look at his coaching. He was going through chemo and he's out coaching a football team. I don't think very many people do that." Steigenga said.

Steigenga said Chatfield will be a man remembered for  dedication to his family,  community, and his department.

"Matt had a heart. When you first see him, you think look at that big guy. Once you get to know him, he has a heart and he'll do anything for anybody" said Steigenga.

Visitation for Deputy Matt Chatfield will be held at the Resurrection Life Church on Dec. 4, from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. to  8 p.m. Visitation will also be held on Saturday, Dec. 5 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Funeral services are scheduled for Sunday, Dec. 6 at 5 p.m.

A fund has also been set up for the family to help with Chatfield's children education. Donations can be made at any Lake Michigan Credit Union Location.