Matt Hampton was recently hired as the Fleet Maintenance Supervisor for the City of Cape Girardeau Public Works Department. Public Works is the City’s largest department and manages street, stormwater and infrastructure maintenance in addition to curbside waste and recycling pick-up, leaf and snow removal, and wastewater treatment.
As the Fleet Maintenance Supervisor, Hampton’s role is managing the fleet mechanics in his department, facilitating the upkeep of all City fleet equipment, monitoring preventive maintenance and unscheduled repairs, and according to Hampton, “keeping everything up and running.”
Before joining Public Works, Hampton spent 25 years in the United States Army. He is currently in the Army Reserve as a first sergeant.
Hampton has been in every area of conflict since Desert Storm. He has spent time in Iraq, Kuwait, Haiti, Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan and has made multiple trips to Saudi Arabia. In 2001, Hampton moved back to his hometown in Cape Girardeau. He and his family were in the process of purchasing their house when the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks occurred. Hampton says he’ll never forget it.
Both Hampton’s wife and one son are also in the Army Reserve. Hampton recalled a trip he took to surprise his son while both of them actively served. Hampton was at a forward operation base (FOB) named Shank south of Kabul, Afghanistan while his son was at FOB Frontenac, which is north of Kandahar. Hampton went to surprise his son the day before Thanksgiving.
“I snuck in [to see my son] when I was in Afghanistan. He didn’t know I was coming, which is kind of a funny story when you don’t always expect it,” Hampton said.
Hampton was able to take a helicopter flight to see his son, spend the day with him, and then fly back to his FOB the next day.
“He looked up one day and saw his dad standing there and asked ‘What are you doing here?’” said Hampton. “So I asked him, ‘What are you doing here?’ I had to remind him like I did when he was growing up that there isn’t a place in this world you can go where I can’t find you.”
In the Army Reserve, Hampton spent five years as an Army recruiter in the Cape Girardeau area. He discovered the Fleet Maintenance position opening at the Veteran Retirement Fair recently held at the Osage Centre. Hampton spoke with a City representative attending the fair and realized the Public Works position was similar to what he did in the Army.
“So, I jumped on it,” Hampton said. “And then waited very patiently for a couple months for them to accept all the applications and then the closing date and then to get accepted for an interview.”
Hampton was very pleased with Public Works’ fleet situation upon his arrival.
“There weren’t really any big issues to work on besides improving communications,” Hampton said.
Hampton hopes by improving communications between the City’s departments regarding needs that his mechanics can accommodate requests as quickly as possible.
In his spare time, Hampton enjoys shooting, woodworking and spending time with his granddaughter, who he nicknamed Sunshine because she is “the light of his life.” He lives just outside Jackson, Mo. with his wife, two sons and daughter.