Video: Hundreds gather to memorialize career FF-paramedic
The death of Bobby Jones, a veteran fire service member, is the first line of duty loss for the Reese & Community Volunteer Fire Department
Katie V. Jones
Carroll County Times, Westminster, Md.
WESTMINSTER, Md. — More than a hundred firefighters from across the region gathered at attention on a numbingly cold Sunday morning at Westminster High School to salute the casket carrying Robert A. "Bobby" Jones as it arrived on a firetruck from Reese & Community Volunteer Fire Department.
Jones, 59, died on Jan. 30 after battling multiple complications of COVID-19. He had been exposed to the virus in December while performing his duties providing patient care, according to the fire department. His is the first line-of-duty death for Reese.
"We do not know the people we are helping. We are just answering their call for help," said fire department chaplain Sam Mann, as he addressed those gathered in the high school auditorium Sunday morning. "We pray God gives us protection."
A career paramedic/firefighter and engineer, Jones was a "lifer," with decades of service. Flags of the various departments he served during his career lined the auditorium stage, as did his firefighting jackets. The hourlong service featured comments from those who worked with Jones, a presentation by a representative for Gov. Larry Hogan and a video showing Jones with his family members and with members of the departments in which he served.
Jones was "a cherished son, brother, uncle, father, family member, friend and public servant. You will be missed dearly," his family said in a written statement.
Jones first joined the Woodlawn Volunteer Fire Company on Sept. 19, 1978, where he remained a member until his death. He entered the Baltimore County Fire Department Academy as a firefighter recruit on Feb. 28, 1982. Jones went on to serve at various fire stations until settling at Baltimore County Station 4 in Catonsville. He retired from that station as a fire lieutenant in April 2012.
Carroll County Commissioner Stephen Wantz was in the 1982 Baltimore County Fire Department 65th recruit class with Jones.
"We were wide-eyed, hard-working, goal-oriented and very terrified individuals, all with the desire to help people in need," Wantz said, who recalled Jones' "infectious" smile.
"He was a man of courage," Wantz said. "Bobby, I thank you for your never-ending dedication. It's the end of your watch, my brother. Rest easy, my friend."
In the late 1980s, Jones joined the Reese department as a part-time paramedic. He became a full-time paramedic, firefighter and engineer at Reese in January 2007.
Michael Robinson, director of Carroll County Department of Fire & EMS, said Jones was "a true hero" who was dedicated to helping others.
"Bobby understood that firefighters are going to die," Robinson said. "He was an inspiration to all. You could feel his warmth and enjoy his sense of humor."
Jones was also a volunteer at Lansdowne Volunteer Fire Company from 2011 to 2013 and in January 2013, he joined Cape St. Claire Volunteer Fire Company in Anne Arundel County. In May 2019, he was promoted to fire lieutenant by the Anne Arundel County Fire Department.
Fire Chief Drew Mutch of Cape St. Claire said he would miss Jones' smile "each and every day." He shared stories of Jones driving him to his wedding and of hiding Easter eggs at the wrong address, and of Jones' penchant for good food.
"He was able to eat so much," Mutch said. "I was always in awe."
Following the service, Jones' casket was escorted by a procession to Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens in Timonium, where he received full honors and a flyover by the Maryland State Police Aviation Division. A reception was held afterward at Reese.
(c)2022 the Carroll County Times