With the passing of firefighter/EMT Gary Schmitt of the Belmont Fire Department, the residents of western Belmont County have suffered the forfeiture of a tremendous asset.
I knew Gary Schmitt for many years. As his obituary reads, he was a volunteer firefighter and EMT.
Like many volunteer firefighters, he dedicated the majority of his life to the service of others in our community, through the fire service. Gar, for many years was the most active member of his volunteer fire department, answering the call for help from the residents of Belmont County.
Although he and I did not always agree or see eye to eye, there was always a professional and mutual respect.
Gar was a deeply devoted individual to the fire service, demonstrating exceptional commitment and persistently endeavoring for improvement through taking and providing training.
Gar was a respected leader and a mentor to me and many others in the fire service. He was an advocate for those in distress and did all that he could do to serve others.
We all can learn something from the way this man lived his life in the service of his friends and neighbors.