National Fallen Firefighters Foundation

Roll of Honor

Age: 69
Year of Death: 2004

Michael B. McAdams

Submitted by his family

This wonderful man was greatly loved by his family‚ which includes his loving supportive wife‚ Sally; his children‚ all grown; his grand children; and his great grandchildren. Michael retired from the state of New Mexico Highway Department in 1989‚ at which time he joined the Sapello-Rociada Volunteer Fire Department where he remained a member until his death‚ 15 years later.

During that time‚ he was ever so faithful at attending many of the training meetings‚ business meetings‚ and also responded to as many of the fire and EMS calls as he possibly could‚ while still caring for his handicapped wife. He always made sure he spent as much time with his family as allowed‚ due to his other interests‚ which included gardening‚ yard work‚ and doing the necessary things around his home that his wife could not physically take care of due to her handicap.

Only hours before this man’s death he responded to a vehicle accident having no idea it would be his last opportunity to potentially save just one more person. During his time as a fire fighter he rescued many people‚ up to‚ but not including a young child that he and Search and Rescue spent the better part of one cold dark night searching for. He was so proud to be the person capable of carrying that young boy out of the darkness into the welcoming arms of his parents. He talked about it for days to anyone he happened to encounter because he felt that his presence that cold dark night had really made a difference to many people‚ and it had.

Michael touched the lives of many people through his actions and his humility. With his words he taught compassion and the things he didn’t say taught everyone to listen with their heart.

The night before Michael passed away‚ his wife‚ children‚ and their families were fortunate enough to be able to spend the evening with him‚ before he went off to yet another fire department training meeting. Later that evening he responded to what turned out to be his last EMS call‚ unbeknownst to anyone at that time. The morning of Michael’s passing he was going about his daily routine‚ fixing breakfast for whomever would partake‚ tending to his wild birds‚ his garden‚ his wife’s needs‚ among the many other projects he had going that August.

Upon learning of a valuable member’s passing‚ the fire department Michael was a member of immediately became involved‚ assisting with arrangements‚ and supporting the family. The day of the services‚ the acting chief made arrangements for a complete meal to be provided for all in attendance. The chief also arranged for another rural fire department to respond to any emergency calls that may come in on the day of the services in order to provide an escort for the funeral procession.

Five of the seven engines the department has lead the funeral procession‚ a distance of more than 15 miles from the funeral home to the family property. Michael loved Truck 2‚ a 4 X 4 Ford engine in which he made his final journey home on the day of the services. His ashes‚ in a box‚ were seatbelted into the front seat of this engine. Michael was a firm believer in ‘buckling up.’ During the procession‚ a fire call came in for a car fire. Although Michael would not have objected to responding‚ this was one fire call Michael didn’t go to.

Michael was a very active man during his lifetime‚ having been a member of the Lion’s club for many years. He was always willing to help others in need‚ and never turned a stranger away from the door who may have been asking for a drink of water or possibly some water for their overheated radiator. Michael was a quiet man‚ but his actions alone at times taught others silent lessons on the road of life. Michael’s love for his family and friends was marked by gentle strength and guidance. His love of life and sense of direction is a wonderful example of what more men should be.

Michael McAdams is missed by his family and friends‚ and he will always be a hero in their minds and hearts as well as many others. His family and friends think of him often with a smile on their face‚ yet with a tear in their eye because he truly was a wonderful man.

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  1. What a wonderful tribute to such a terrific person. Thank you for sharing it with us.

    – Scott and Deanna McAdams
  2. I had the great pleasure to work with Mac. I think about him often; about our friendship, about this profession and about the love he had for this job. Miss you brother.

    – J J Jones