John Ross Laronda was a graduate of the American Firefighters Academy and served with Freetown Fire Department in Freetown, Massachusetts from 2010-2013. John was a third-generation manager of his family’s automotive business, John’s Auto Body and Towing, in Freetown, until 2013, when he relocated to Altavista, Virginia. In Altavista, he managed the family-owned Perkins Twin Tire as the self-proclaimed “Top Man” and quickly found acceptance by the local community.
John became a volunteer firefighter for the Altavista Fire Company and rose to the rank of captain. He found an extended family in the Altavista Fire Company and was quick to share his fire and rescue knowledge with his comrades. Even though he liked working in automotive repair, his passion was being a firefighter/EMT, and he had dreams of becoming a full-time firefighter.
John’s family has felt an outpouring of support from the communities that he served, and it is clear that he made a lasting impact. He was eager to help others without expectation of praise or compensation. John made people smile, often with his witty personality and small acts of kindness. He enjoyed spending time with his rescue dogs. Just as in life, he continued to help others after death, as seven recipients were saved by his donated organs.
John has even left us with words of encouragement that summarize his strong faith, with a tattoo he got shortly before his death that read, “God gives His toughest battles to His strongest soldiers.” John is an inspiration to many and will be forever in the hearts of his parents, sisters, twin brother, friends, and comrades of the Freetown and Altavista fire departments.