Donald Trotochaud‚ born July 5‚ 1975‚ was the youngest of four children of Paul and Judith Trotochaud. Donald was his dad’s shadow. His father was a Connecticut State Trooper and Donald would often go with him when he go to the barracks during his off duty time. Tragedy hit home when Donald was 11 _ when his father died suddenly. His brother Paul‚ sister Susan were both married and brother Alan was off at college. Donald decided that it was time for him to become the man of the house. He would do most of the work that his father would have done with the help of his aunts and uncles.
At 16‚ Donald became interested in firefighting and joined the East Haddam Volunteer Fire Department as a junior member. He was very proud of the local fire department and always spoke highly of the people and things that they were able to teach him. Eventually‚ he was able to become a full-time member.
Donald was a hands-on person. He loved his old truck‚ spending many hours fixing‚ changing‚ and updating it so that when it was finished it hardly looked like the 1975 truck he started with. After graduating from Nathan Hale-Ray High School‚ he attended the New England Institute of Technology where he earned an associates degree in automotive and marine mechanics in 1995. He was also a member of the East Haddam Volunteer Fire Department and certified as an Emergency Medical Technician in 1996.
In 1996‚ Donald’s plan was to follow his yearning to serve not only his community but also his country. He announced that he had joined the United States Air Force to become a career firefighter. He entered the Air Force on 21 February 1996. After completing basic training‚ he entered firefighter training at the Louis F. Garland Fire Academy‚ Goodfellow AFB‚ Texas. He was then assigned to Laughlin AFB‚ Texas. There he became certified to Firefighter II‚ Driver/Operator-Pumper‚ Driver/Operator-ARFF‚ Airport Firefighter‚ Hazardous Materials Operations‚ and a volunteer Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation instructor for the local chapter of the Red Cross.
On September 18‚ 1998‚ Donald died from injuries sustained from a work related accident at Laughlin AFB. The funeral took place at St. Bridget of Kildare Church in Moodus‚ Connecticut‚ where he was laid to rest. He is survived by his mother‚ Judith; brothers‚ Paul and Alan; sister‚ Susan; and many nieces and nephews.