A Florida native, Steve grew up in Tampa and graduated from Hillsborough High School in 1982. He enlisted in the Army, served with the 25th Infantry Division as a medic, and was awarded the expert field medical badge. After his enlistment, he pursued a career in EMS and was hired as a firefighter/EMT for Pasco County in 1993, becoming a paramedic a few years later. In mid-2001, he transferred to Spring Hill Fire Rescue, which later became Hernando County Fire Rescue.
After the tragic events of 9/11, Steve believed the right thing to do was to reenlist in the military as a Florida National Guard soldier as a medic with the 3/116th Field Artillery Battalion in Plant City, Florida. With that unit, Steve deployed to Iraq in 2005-2006, where he was awarded the Combat Action Badge. For his dedication and support of the Field Artillery unit, Steve was honored to receive the Saint Barbara’s medal. He continued to serve with the National Guard upon returning from deployment, served with the Florida Medical Detachment at Camp Blanding and, just before his death, was promoted to first sergeant of a Blackhawk Unit, 1st Battalion 111th Aviation Regiment at Cecil Field, Florida. This was his ultimate goal and a very proud moment in his military career. He served his country proudly for over 21 years while continuing to serve his community as a firefighter/paramedic for 24 years. He led by example. He died at the top of his game.
Service was Steve’s personality. He felt privileged to volunteer as camp dean for WonderBook Bible Camp for many years, as well as a committee member and artist for Operation Helping Hand, a military charity in Tampa Bay. Steve never met a stranger. He was outgoing, funny, and a bit bull-headed, never looking for a fight but never hesitating to stand up for what he believed in, whether it was defending or protecting his faith, his family, his brother and sister firefighters, or his soldiers. Steve was someone you would want in your corner.
Steve’s free time was spent playing bass guitar, going to comic conventions, drinking his favorite craft beer, watching movies, collecting Volkswagen Beetles, and practicing at the gun range. He loved to travel, especially to the mountains, where he dreamed of retiring someday. Steve was an amazing husband, father, opa, son, brother, and friend. He was a brother firefighter and an American soldier. My lover, my soulmate, my best friend. Steve is my hero.
My soul will ache every day until we’re together again. Until then, I know your soul is shining, you are face-to-face with our Lord, and Heaven is a better place with you in it.