Passing of SSVFD Past President Michael Valente – Monday, June 7, 2021
It is with great sadness that that we share the passing of Sandy Spring Volunteer Fire Department Past President and Secretary Michael Valente. SSVFD Chief Dinowitz, SSVFD President Roth, the Officers and Members of the SSVFD offer the Valente Family our sincerest condolences from his Fire Department Family.
At his earliest opportunity, when Mike Valente turned 16, he came to the SSVFD to volunteer. As a lifelong resident of Ashton, SSVFD was his “home” department, the department that served his community. He reported that, “I had always wanted to join the fire department and been a strong believer in community involvement. My father (Anthony) was a volunteer at the B-CC Rescue Squad, so seeing him serve, made me want to give back to the community”. Michael was a graduate of Our Lady of Good Counsel High School when it was located in Wheaton.
Michael has served Sandy Spring VFD since 1976 both as an active riding member and in administrative roles.
Operationally, he served in every position from Fire Sergeant all the way up to Fire Captain. In 1981, he became a member of the Hazardous Materials Team, which handled chemical emergencies such as petroleum product spills.
Administratively, he served as President of the Department for five years, as well, as Vice President. At the time of his passing, Michael served as Secretary of the Department, a position he had ably held for many years. He also served as an integral part of many of the Department’s committees. Michael was always there when the department needed him and his lifelong commitment to SSVFD will be sorely missed.
In April of 1991, he achieved lifetime member status after serving the Department for 10 years. In response to his favorite aspect of volunteering, Valente stated that he always enjoyed, “the satisfaction [it] gives, the ability to help mentor new people, and serve as an example for them to follow.”
For his dedication in serving the local community, Valente was awarded the Sandy Spring Volunteer Fire Department’s highest honor—the Spencer J.H. Brown Sr. Outstanding Service Award—in 1989 and 2001.
Valente was quoted as saying, “The fire department is a big part of my life; I like seeing the results of my work and I’ve been doing it for so long that I can’t imagine doing anything else”.
May he rest in peace!