Richard P. Steele
Distant Area Volunteer Fire Department – Pennsylvania
Volunteer Safety Officer
Date of Death: December 8‚ 2008
Richard was raised in Distant‚ just two houses away from the community school house‚ the building that now is the home of the Distant Fire Department. After the school moved‚ the fire department was established in 1968‚ and Richard joined on March 21‚ 1969. Richard and his wife‚ Rachel‚ purchased a home in Distant and raised their three children there. Richard held various offices and ranks over the years and was voted as a life member in March 1994. He was active in fundraising and loved calling bingo each week.
In small communities like Distant‚ everyone knows everyone‚ and the fire department becomes an extended family. The whole family becomes involved with the fire department‚ the children grow up together‚ and many become members themselves.
Two of Richard’s children became members‚ and his only granddaughter was anxiously waiting to become a junior member in January 2009. Richard did not get to be at that meeting to cast his vote for her. Following a call on December 8‚ 2008‚ he passed away from a heart attack. His granddaughter became a member one month later to proudly follow in his footsteps.