Stephen L. Jones
Barnstead Fire-Rescue‚ Inc. – New Hampshire
Date of Death: December 29‚ 2006
Steve was born September 23‚ 1950‚ in Manchester‚ New Hampshire. He was raised in Roslindale‚ Massachusetts‚ before returning to New Hampshire with his family. In 1966‚ at the age of 16‚ Steve joined the Center Barnstead Fire Department‚ later to become Barnstead Fire and Rescue. After serving a tour of duty in the U.S. Marines‚ Steve rejoined the department‚ where he continued to serve as a volunteer until his death in 2006.
As a U.S. Marine jet mechanic and welder by trade‚ Steve was skilled at working with large‚ complex machinery and took great pride in working with the department’s fire apparatus. At one point‚ the department was looking to add a ladder truck to its fleet. Steve took on the challenge of finding a suitable used truck to rebuild to the department’s specifications.
Anyone tagging along on one of these infamous truck hunts knew that they had to suspend any normal concept of time. You were now operating on Steve’s time. If your town had a fire department‚ you were on Steve’s radar. And if Steve didn’t have a friend on that team‚ he would before he left. But the trips were always an adventure and are folklore within the department.
But it was the time with young people that Steve enjoyed the most. Steve delighted in taking new fire recruits under his wing. One of Steve’s greatest thrills was traveling with the Smoke House‚ a fire prevention and safety mobile laboratory. Steve’s engaging smile‚ mischievous eyes and gregarious personality made him a favorite with kids of all ages!
Steve died in the act that is only appropriate to his passion. He succumbed to a major cardiac failure while transporting a piece of fire apparatus for an out-of-state retrofit. Steve did not get to see the finishing touches on the ladder truck. The unit was put into service only months after his death and will always be known as Steve’s truck.
Even in death‚ Steve continued his service to his fellow fire fighters. The Granite State Fire Service Support Team (GSFSST) of New Hampshire is a volunteer team of firefighters that provides memorial planning and technical support to volunteer fire departments and families of fallen firefighters. Steve’s memorial service was a culmination of the many years of hard work put in by the GSFSST in preparation for just such an event. In September 2007‚ the GSFSST put into service a custom mobile response unit and dedicated the unit to Steve’s memory.
In 2007‚ Steve was posthumously awarded the Paul Sypek Medal of Valor for dedicated service above and beyond the call of duty.