May 31st, 2017, it was going to be a very important day for Rockland Fire & EMS. I made sure I was there for the 0700 shift change, I didn't want to miss it. A few others who weren't due to work that morning also came in to see the end or an era. We were there to see Jamie Leo, a 27 year veteran of Rockland Fire & EMS finish out his last shift with the department. It was a tough morning for Jamie, you could tell the thought of walking out of the firehouse for the last time was something he struggled to get through and for that I wasn't surprised. I was, however, surprised how tough it was for me.
Lt. Leo joined the call division in 1990 and was hired as a career member in 1992. By the time I was hired in 1999 Jamie was well into his career. He was already looked at as one of the veteran guys on the department and I knew he was someone I was going to watch and learn from. As a young firefighter and EMT I was hoping to accomplish the success and respect he had gained in a relatively short amount of time. He was a good roll model and mentor for a “probie” and I ever stopped learning from him.
Jamie is one of the most well respected fire service leaders that this grew state has to offer. He is the kind of leader that made his subordinates want to work harder and his superiors felt fortunate that he was leading the troops in a positive direction. He always looks out for the safety and best interests of his people while making sure the reputation and good standing of his fire department was intact and positive. He is the first to offer up help and the last to leave something until it is finished. At his retirement party this past weekend Assistant Chief Adam Miceli stated that the one word that encompasses Lt. Leo was “Brotherhood”, and I couldn't agree more.
So here is to you, Lt. Leo, on this exciting and well deserved time of your life. I hope you know that your spot within Rockland Fire & EMS history will be one of success. You are a great leader, mentor, and one hell of a friend. Don’t be a stranger, there will always be a spot at the table for you no matter how many years have passed.
Be Safe Out There!