National Fallen Firefighters Foundation

Roll of Honor

Age: 50
Year of Death: 2005

Michael A. Switala

Submitted by his wife

Michael A. Switala‚ 50‚ was a life member of the City of Lower Burrell in Pennsylvania Fire Company. For the majority of this time‚ he served Company #3 as an EMT and firefighter. In 2000‚ Michael became a member of Company #2 Dive/Rescue Team. He had participated in several divers’ training/certification classes throughout these years and had accompanied the team on various rescue-recovery events. On August 27‚ 2005‚ Michael drowned during a night dive certification class. He was revived‚ but remained unresponsive and died the following day‚ August 28‚ 2005.

Michael was a good and generous man‚ a man of commitment. His life was marked by service to others. As a boy‚ he had attained the rank of Eagle Scout‚ the Scouting system’s highest rank. As a young man‚ while enrolled at Slippery Rock State College‚ Michael joined the Navy (1973). He was a Machinist Mate 2 aboard the USS Andrew Jackson. After the Navy in 1977‚ he married his wife Aimee Bohrer Switala. Together they have three children Heather 27‚ Aaron 25‚ and Matthew 20. We consider them ‘our greatest treasures.’ Michael was a wonderful husband and father who participated in his children’s lives. He was a nurturer‚ instructor‚ protector‚ provider and mentor. His love was enormous. In addition to his wife and children‚ Michael is sadly missed by his mother Genevieve‚ siblings Lydia and Joseph and their spouses‚ as well as several in-laws‚ nieces and nephews.

Michael was an avid hunter and fisherman and shared these activities with his sons and brother. As a family‚ we shared a summer camp in Erie‚ Pennsylvania‚ where we’d swim‚ fish‚ go boating‚ cook out‚ and spend evenings around the fire. Watching Steelers football was also a weekly event for our family.

In honor of their dad and because of the wonderful impact he had on his sons‚ Aaron and Matthew have also joined the fire company as firemen and are also training for the dive/rescue team. Michael died doing what he loved. As my husband‚ Michael was my best friend and my greatest love. We are committed to each other‚ our children‚ and God. To our children‚ he was ‘dad’ – the guy who could do anything and make everything right. Michael always gave his best‚ did his best‚ and to all of us‚ was the best. His love does go on.

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  1. Rest easy brother we have it from here just be our guardian angel as we continue to do our job you will never be forgotten and you will always be missed

    – Michele Collis
  2. He was one of the greatest men who I have ever met..would help anyone. A great friend and a great friend..karla n mike

    – Karla Palenchar
  3. Dearly missed .He left his footprints where ever he was .He showed his love by giving of himself to all. .Now he is the arms of a angel.

    – Deborah Renwick
  4. Rest in peace brother. You are missed alot and you are never forgotten

    – Henry Mcnutt
  5. Michael…You were close to our hearts,still are. You are an amazing friend and always was there for your family and friends.
    I will never forget the things you did for me..including standing up for us to get married…helping whenever should be your mantra.I will never forget our talks.The love you and Aimee shared was unremarkable…you were kind..funny…and I know you will not be forgotten. Guardian Angel of many…

    – Michael&Karla Palenchar
  6. Hon, I miss you to this day. 16 years have passed and the pain has eased some…the sadness remains. But, because of the love we shared and the beautiful family we were blessed with, I carry on in your honor and memory. You don’t want us to be stuck in sadness and I promise, I remember you with a smile on my face always and sometmes, a tear. One day I will see you again, my forever love…

    – Aimee Switala
  7. Rest easy my friend. I got your 6 and keeping my word. I miss you my dear friend.

    – Gill Thomasr