The fire service suffered a monumental loss on Saturday, February 16, 2002, in the sudden death of Chief Anthony “Don” Manno at North Arundel hospital in Maryland.
“Heralded as a ‘fire instructors’ FIRE INSTRUCTOR,’ Manno, was a truly dynamic and effective leader and a good friend to many,” recalls Billy Goldfeder, battalion chief of the Loveland-Symmes Fire Department, Loveland, Ohio, and an advisory editorial board member of Fire Engineering. Manno was a staunch proponent of firefighter training and safety and a valued member of the Fire Engineering/FDIC training and education network. Manno’s highly distinguished career spanned across the national and international fire services. He recently retired as a chief officer of the Overland Park (KS). At the time of his death, he was head of the marketing for Werner-Herbison-Padgett Training Towers.
He was the recipient of numerous national fire training, administrative, and heroic awards and citations and spoke extensively at fire service national and international conferences and programs. His passion for firefighter safety and training, his fast pacing across the stage, and the passion in his delivery propelled the audience into peppering his remarks with heartfelt applause and a rousing standing ovation.
Manno’s spirit will continue to permeate the halls of the fire service, as his proteges and students live and teach those sentiments and principles he unwavingly upheld in the face of a newly emerging fire service buffeted by challenges presented by insufficient staffing and “more enlightened’ theories that can threaten firefighter safety.
Testimonies from fire service leaders began to emerge immediately after the sad news of Manno’s death.
“His impact in firefighter safety, fire prevention, and especially fire training will last forever. His uncanny ability to do the right thing and make you want to do it too is something for which he will always be remembered. Don had time for you–no matter who you were. He was just as comfortable talking to the Fire Department of New York’s fire commissioner as when sitting on an apparatus tailboard, talking, and teaching tactics to a small group of
rural firefighters. You mattered to Don Manno–an example for any fire officer, an example for any human being.”–Chief Goldfeder
“You would have to meet Don only once to understand that he cared so deeply for our nation’s firefighters. The loss of Don Manno will be felt worldwide.”–John Buckman, chief of the German Township (IN) Volunteer Fire Department in Evansville, Indiana, and president of the International Association of Fire Chiefs.
“As great a fire service person Donnie was, he was 100 times that as a
wonderful human being and friend to all that met him. We are all blessed to have known and loved Don Manno. He will be missed beyond measure.”–Jack McElfish, chief, Richmond, Virginia, and Manno’s close friend.
“The fire service and humanity have lost a great, loving, and caring individual. All who met Don will always remember his spirit, positive attitude, and willingness to help others. Don was at his best in front of a class, sharing his enthusiasm and knowledge with his students …. You knew he cared about each of us whom he taught.”–William D. Killen, director, Navy Fire & Emergency Services, Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Washington Navy Yard, Washington, DC.
Manno previously had served as program chairman at the National Fire Academy; chief of the Florida State Fire Training Bureau; director of the State of Kentucky Fire Training Program, and as a member of the Maryland Fire Service, including the Providence (MD) Volunteer Fire Department, the Bowie (MD) Volunteer Fire Department in Prince George’s County; and the Taneytown (MD) Volunteer Fire Department in Carroll County. He was a National Fire Academy Alumni Association (NFAAA) board member.
The Manno family will receive friends at the Ruck Towson Funeral Home, 1050 York Road, Towson, Maryland, on Tuesday, February 19 from 7 to 9 p.m. and Wednesday, February 20, from 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m.
Masonic memorial services will be conducted Wednesday evening at 7:30 p.m. A fire department funeral will be held Thursday, February 21, at the Ruck Towson Chapel at 11 a.m. There will be a procession from the chapel to Dulaney Memorial Gardens Cemetery, 200 E. Padonia Road, Timonium, Maryland.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Manno’s memory to the Francis Scott Key Burn Center, Baltimore, Maryland.
Manno leaves behind his beloved wife Eilene (nee O’Connor); David A. Manno and his wife Kim; Damien E. DeVille; Matthew F. DeVille and his wife Jennifer; grandfather Joseph A. and Katelynd A. Manno; and many aunts, uncles and cousins.
A Memorial Guest Page has been set up here.
Note: Chief William Goldfeder, William D. Killen, Chief Jack McElfish, and Mary Jane Dittmar assisted in the preparation of this report.