Monroe EMS loses its longtime leader: Chief Don Smith

Don Smith, Monroe's EMS chief of 12 years, succumbed to cancer on Tuesday.

MONROE, CT — Don Smith, 60, a retired Fairfield police officer who served as chief of the Monroe Volunteer Emergency Medical Service for 12 years, died Tuesday, according to a post on the Monroe EMS Facebook page.

“It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of Monroe EMS Chief Don Smith after a courageous battle with cancer,” the post said. “Don passed away today at home with his family by his side.”

Smith had been an EMT for 37 years, including 22 years in Monroe. He played an integral role in making Monroe EMS what it is today. Colleagues noted he was “passionate about providing excellent patient care and supporting the service and our members.”

EMS Chief Don Smith, left, Building Committee Chairman Terry Rooney, center, and First Selectman Ken Kellogg carry ceremonial shovels during a groundbreaking ceremony celebrating the EMS building project in September of 2021.

His emergency services experience included serving as a volunteer firefighter, a dispatcher and a paramedic. Smith served on the State of Connecticut EMS Advisory Board, and the CT DEMHS CT-West Incident Management Team.

Among Smith’s certifications were emergency medical technician, EMS instructor, tactical emergency medical care instructor and CPR instructor.

“From caring for thousands of patients to his focus on community and EMS education and developing future first responders, he has a legacy that will live on in others,” the EMS Facebook post said.

EMS members express their gratitude to Smith for his years of leadership, ensuring the service had the latest equipment, coordinating administrative operations, and sharing his vision for the new station, as well as dedicating “the countless hours of work that went into that.”

During a groundbreaking ceremony for the renovation and addition to the Monroe EMS headquarters on Jockey Hollow Road in 2021, Smith said, “it is amazing. This has been well over 10 years. To see it start, I’m thrilled. We are looking forward to moving into a facility that will serve us for another 50 years. It’s a great day.”

Smith had also served the community with the Fairfield Police Department for 31 years, retiring in 2021 as deputy chief.

“He truly made a difference — every day,” the Facebook post said. “Please keep Don and his family in your thoughts and prayers — they mean so much to us and we will be there for them. They will always be part of our EMS family.”

Monroe EMS members promised to share information on funeral arrangements as details are confirmed.

Profile of a volunteer

Don Smith

Don Smith participated in a series of member profiles of Monroe EMS volunteers in The Monroe Sun during National EMS Week last year. The following are his answers to interview questions.

Why did you join the MVEMS?

Smith: I moved to Monroe in 1999 and wanted to volunteer in the community I lived in.

Besides the personal reward gained by helping people in need one of the primary reasons I have continued to volunteer in Monroe is the people. The friendships and connections to other MVEMS members is something special. I also enjoy the challenges of working with all our members to continue to enhance the services Monroe EMS provides to the public.

What would you say to someone wondering whether they could be a member of the EMS?

Smith: I believe that at the heart of a community like Monroe is volunteerism. Residents stepping forward to help their neighbors and improve the community. MVEMS is comprised of people from all age groups and walks of life.

Even if someone doubts their ability to be an EMT, let me assure them that they can. There is nothing more rewarding than working with a team to save lives. This is what our volunteers do and we are looking for help in carrying out our mission of providing that quality pre-hospital emergency care.

All respectful comments with the commenter’s first and last name are welcome.

1 Comment

  1. Our deepest sympathies to the family and to our MVES volunteer family. Many thanks for his years of service to our community. 🙏🏻

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