Richard J. Layton‚ Jr.‚ was born on October 14‚ 1966. He was a Freeport resident his entire life‚ graduating from Freeport High School. He married his devoted wife‚ Jaime on October 7‚ 2001. Ricky knew from a young age that he wanted to become a firefighter. In 1980‚ at the age of 14 he became a member of the ‘Explorers Post 406‚’ the Freeport Fire Department Jr. Firefighters.
On December 11‚ 1984 he became a member of Ever Ready Hose Company #1‚ and began his life long dream as a volunteer firefighter. He immediately began serving as chairman and co-chairman on many company committees. He served as recording secretary and financial secretary of Hose Company 1. He quickly rose through the ranks and was elected second lieutenant in 1988-1989‚ 1994-1995‚ 2003-2004; first lieutenant in 1989-1990‚ 1995-1996 and 2004-2005; and served as captain from 1990-1991‚ 1996-1997‚ and 2005-2006; and instructor in 2005-2006. Ricky’s dedication to his company found him serving as an officer for a total of 3 full terms. He was very involved with the training division serving as a company instructor and then as an assistant chief.
One of his many areas of specialized training was as a Rescue Diver‚ with the department’s Underwater Search and Rescue Squad since 1995. He was a member of the Night Hawks Old Fashioned Drill Team‚ and a member of the department softball team. He was also a NYS drill team official and an EMT. A decorated firefighter‚ he received three unit citations: a Dive Unit Citation‚ a Pre-Hospital Save‚ and a Nassau County Award. In April 2006 he climbed another step on his fire department career ladder and was elected third assistant chief of the Freeport Fire Department. His reputation before becoming chief maintained true to form‚ as he was one of the most active members of the Freeport Fire Department. He was always one of the first chiefs to sign on the radio when an alarm sounded. At the time of his death‚ he was first assistant chief.
His wife Jaime‚ showed as much love and respect for the Freeport Fire Department as her husband did. It was a rare time if Ricky would pull up to an alarm without Jaime by his side‚ who would take care of paper work and monitor the computer.
His life’s work and civic endeavor served to enhance the quality of life in his community. His representation is synonymous with excellence in the field of fire protection and prevention. It takes a special dedication‚ a strong desire to help others and a tireless sense of community to forsake precious time with family and friends to respond to the signal that a neighbor is in need; Ricky was such a firefighter. Throughout his years of devoted service‚ Ricky heroically performed above and beyond the call of duty; those responsibilities that define the task of fire protection. He truly was an asset to his community. He never met a ‘stranger‚’ making friends anywhere he went. He loved to laugh and have fun and he made sure everyone around him was also enjoying life with him. Ricky’s life was cut short‚ but to all who knew and loved him‚ his legacy will carry on to those who will serve after him.