Donald was an extremely loyal and dedicated man to his family and to his brothers and sisters of the fire service. He was born in Perth Amboy, New Jersey, on August 22, 1968, where he resided with his loving wife of 14 years, Charlotte, and his two amazing children, Gabriella (12) and Gianni (5), until his line-of-duty death on August 27, 2021.
Donald was overjoyed when he and his wife welcomed their firstborn, their daughter Gabriella, in 2010. Seven years later they welcomed their second child, Gianni, born in May 2017. His family was complete with their black Labrador, Bella, who they rescued from a shelter 10 years ago.
Donald enjoyed taking family vacations and always went along with his wife’s crazy ideas. Donald referred to her as Lucy (Lucy Ricardo), and she referred to him as her Ricky. There is nothing Donald wouldn’t do for anyone, especially his family, friends, and extended family. Donald always wanted to do the right thing. Countless times when out with family or coming back from one of many vacations, Donald would stop to help someone, whether it was an accident on a highway, helping someone carrying groceries, or literally helping the elderly cross the street.
Donald started his career at the young age of 16 as a volunteer EMT for the Perth Amboy First Aid Squad. At age 18 he joined the Protection Fire Co No 1 of Keasbey, New Jersey. Through the years, Donald developed his firefighting skills and took part in developing and leading the company’s special operations team. Donald advanced through fire officer ranks and eventually served a double term as fire chief. He was an exempt member at the time of his passing.
Donald also started his own company, called All Hazards Training, and he was very proud of it. He taught CPR, AED, first aid, confined space rescue and awareness, emergency response to terrorism, first responder awareness for OSHA, and HAZWOPER courses.
Donald took pride in helping others. He was among the many who responded to the World Trade Center on September 11,2001 and stayed days after. Donald was always furthering himself, taking classes and traveling for courses to advance in his career. In 2002, Donald was employed by the Middlesex County Hazardous Materials Unit. He was proud to serve as the supervising lieutenant for the “A” shift crew. He was also named the unit’s training officer and always looked forward to sharing his knowledge with his work family.
Donald loved traveling and cooking. He had planned on retiring and moving to South Carolina in three years with his wife and children and buying a food truck.
I love and miss you so much babe. Until we meet again!– Charlee/Wife
I love you always & forever babe. Thank you for giving me 2 amazing children & 14 years of love. Look after us always & take care of the baby with you… xoxo Love you, bub– Charlee
I love and miss you!! Always and forever babe!– Charlee
I live in Somerset County but have many friends and family in Middlesex County that have had the need for assistance from your husband and his unit.
Sending my condolences to you for the loss of a beautiful soul and thanking him for his service to so many people….RIP– Linda L Pellis
12/21/2022 – Hey Don, what a day today was, one mixed with a myriad of emotions. The Tunnel to Towers (T2T) folks, now part of our extended family have been nothing short of amazing. What was missing was you walking in that house with us, with your wife and children, you were supposed to be there, you should’ve been there, but we all know you were there, in spirit, in thought and in memory, we had the signs and we all felt it.
I wish I could say the past 16 months have been difficult, but even that’s giving it too much credit, they sucked! But, we WILL NOT QUIT! You, just like all our first responders and military matter, every single one of you. Your life mattered and your passing was not in vain. We all miss you and the kids along with Charlee, well, what can I say, they’re taking it one day at a time, it isn’t even remotely close to easy.
I promised you I’d do the best I could to look after them and I’ll continue to do so. She’s my sister, so I know how she could be, a pain at times, lol, you’d be laughing now and the kids, well what can I say, they love me, lol.
You rest easy in paradise my brother, I’ve got the watch from here, but I’m sharing it with the rest of the family also. Be assured, we’ll take care of them and look after them, but you know that already. Love ya Bro!– Benny-Brother-in-Law