#FireHeroTuesday kicked off the holiday season of givingtogether we can make sure our Fire Hero Families know that we remember.
National Fallen Firefighters Foundation

Roll of Honor

Age: 42
Year of Death: 2004

Jeffrey W. Howell

Submitted by his sister and brother-in-law

Jeff received ‘the calling’ In the spring of 1994. As he drove through the country‚ he came upon a burning home‚ it’s owners desperately trying to salvage anything they could. The local volunteer fire department hadn’t yet made it to the scene‚ so the only thing he could do was help them save anything they could carry until the trucks arrived. He realized then first hand the need for more volunteers in a rural community‚ and joined Carlisle Volunteer Fire Department the next day.

After nearly 10 years of service to Carlisle‚ Jeff transferred to Sharon Springs department and continued unselfishly helping others until his untimely death. On May 13‚ 2004 he was one of the first to respond to a burning farmhouse. Much like his first experience‚ he began racing to help it’s inhabitants save what they could from their burning home. When the trucks began arriving a short time later‚ he helped with the hoses. He sat to rest‚ complaining he didn’t feel well (something he would never do) and died of a heart attack on the scene a short time later. Though his big heart stopped on that evening _- the love and friendships it possessed will live on forever.

Jeff loved the fire department‚ and the bonds that formed from within. He was well loved and respected in both departments – taking his duty VERY seriously‚ and never turning down a request to help out. Nothing stopped him from responding to a call – even a close Miami Dolphins game (though he always made sure someone taped the end for him.) He was passionate about the brotherhood‚ marching in local and state parades – including a long New York City march with thousands in the pouring rain – and loving every minute of it!

In the end that same brotherhood came to honor and respect their fallen comrade – with full support from departments all around New York State. Though the day is now a blur‚ the procession‚ memorials and services from all who unselfishly gave their time to participate and pay their respects for one of their own will never be forgotten.

Besides a fireman‚ Jeff was a skilled carpenter with a passion for woodwork. Though he had built many homes‚ his true gift was in custom finish work. He owned his own sawmill and woodworker’s shop‚ and was able to accomplish any challenge with true craftsman’s hands – starting with a tree‚ ending with the trim. One of his many hobbies was collecting crystals‚ minerals and gemstones. The combination of wood and stone allowed he and his wife Cindy to turn their home into an artist’s gallery of custom detail work.

His true joy in life was his wife Cindy and son Christopher. Married for almost 19 years‚ and together for 24 – Cindy is his partner‚ best friend and soul mate. Their young son Christopher was God’s gift to both of them‚ and Jeff’s best pal. Jeff’s business and Cindy’s unselfish devotion to her family and career allowed Jeff to care for Christopher for his first four and a half years – instilling virtue and a father’s bond to last him his lifetime.

Jeff had a true love of life – living every day to it’s fullest‚ and enjoying all things great and small. His good nature‚ sense of humor and infectious smile will live on in all who knew him. He will be sorely missed always by all of his family and friends and everyone he touched in his short lifetime.

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  1. I was chief of Sharon Springs Fire Dept at the time of Jeff’s passing. I respected Jeff as a firefighter, and became a close friend I miss him very much, he was a great person that would do everything and anything asked to if he could help he did. He had a great outlook in life and loved his family.

    – Greg Baxter
  2. What a beautiful and heartfelt tribute to this fallen hero. The world lost this young man way too soon. It is with thankfulness that this tribute was created to acknowledge his unself acts of giving to his family and community and stand true to the very end of what he believed in his heart was his purpose…and he gave his life for that calling. May he rest in peace and may his family and friends always hold him close to their heart.

    – Carol Lavallee Troxell
  3. That day will NEVER be a blur to me. I remember the service and the procession as if it were yesterday; lining the roadway in the cemetery leading to the spot where he would be laid to rest, standing at attention and saluting his casket as it passed. Images that will forever be etched in my heart and mind. There are not enough words to describe the person that Jeff was but he was a hero’s hero.

    – Theresa
  4. We were honor to be at their wedding. One day I stop by their to see them Jeff and Cindy made me welcome. Little Christie had his own cupboard of pots and pans playing and Jeff draw my attention to their ceiling he had done but a phone call came in so visit was a blessing for me.

    – Bob @Myrna Wilday
  5. I did not know Jeff personally, however I had the privledge of teaching his son in Kindergarten and Grade 1. I saw the values and compassion he instilled in his son. I have watched his son grow over the years into a son he would be so proud of you. I thank Jeff and all the other firefighters for their service!

    – Donna Larkin
  6. Jeff had a wonderful dedication to family and community.

    We had fun at different social events when he was an employee at Harva.Co.

    Sweet guy, Jeff used to give our then young son quarters whenever we saw him in the store. Brought a smile to Jeff and my son. I’d tell Jeff it wasn’t necessary, he’d say, I like doing it, and he’d smile.

    – Denelle E Baker
  7. Jeff was always there when the ambulance was called out to drive while I rode in the back. He truly believed in helping all. When there was a major school bus accident in Schoharie County, we brought two patients in to Cobleskill Hospital and we stayed. I worked the ED and Jeff was thrilled to help load the helicopters! He worked alongside all the volunteers that day saving lives. He stayed until we all could leave driving us back to station and then washing the rig before putting it away. Every moment relished until the last.

    – Barbara Euler