By Fire Chief James P. Seavey, Sr.
The Son of a Retired Veteran Paid Firefighter from Montgomery County is also preparing to hang his helmet on its hook for the last time! Yes, as his father, Don, did many years ago following a serious injury with the Bethesda Fire Department on a working fire, Donnie Simmons is about to retire from the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service; albeit a bit more smoothly and painlessly than did his Dad!
Donnie, who started at 16 as a volunteer with the Glen Echo Volunteer Fire Department, was hired on October 16, 1984 by the Board of Directors of the Cabin John Park Volunteer Fire Department and then Chief Bo Money, to the position of paid firefighter at Station 30. In 1988, his employer changed from the Cabin John Park VFD to that of the Montgomery County Government, but you could never tell Donnie that.
No, Donnie was a very caring and dedicated employee of the Department for over 31 years. He never left Station 30 and has cared for the aging facility as though it was his own. He has been instrumental in the specification of both, CJPVFD and MCFRS apparatus assigned to Station 30 on most occasions during his years of service. So devoted to the proper operation of the local Department was Donnie that he was awarded the highest award in the CJPVFD, the “David E. Morgal, Sr. Member/Employee of the Year”, at the turn of the Century.
Donnie has also served as the Assistant Team Leader of Operations for the MCFRS River Rescue and Tactical Services Team (RRATS). One of the first official county RRATS, Donnie has worked feverishly to keep the standards of the Team at the highest level possible and, in doing so, earned a number of recognition Awards. He was a member of the Team from the CJPVFD that went to New Orleans for Hurricane Katrina. He also is a Silver Medal recipient from the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce and a two time recipient of the coveted Higgins-Langley Award from the National Association of Search and Rescue!
Donnie’s talents will be missed, as will his nearly constant presence at one of the Stations, well, for that matter, almost any of the Stations in the county. There will be a number of overtime slots coming available in the immediate future. As Donnie and his wife Jennifer plan to immediately relocate to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; we wish them both great health and a long and enjoyable retirement. Master Firefighter Donnie Simmons, you might be leaving our midst, but you will never be forgotten!