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County’s Former Fire Chief Succumbs to Rare Parkinson’s Disorder top

Photo: Fire and Rescue Service Fire Chief Thomas Carr

Former Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service Fire Chief Thomas Carr.

Former Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service Fire Chief Thomas Carr, 59, passed away on April 24 following complications from Multiple System Atrophy (MSA), a rare neurological disorder that causes symptoms similar to Parkinson’s disease.

Carr was named the Chief of the Charleston, South Carolina Fire Department in November 2008 after retiring as Montgomery’s fire chief. In April 2010 he announced his diagnosis with Parkinson’s disease and pledged his continued commitment to lead the Charleston Fire Department for as long as he could. In March 2012, he retired to focus on his battle with the more deadly MSA.

Named FIRE CHIEF 2010 Career Chief of the Year, Carr was known for his outstanding leadership and desire to improve the fire service. He was referred to as the “firefighter’s firefighter” and someone who earned his following through innovation and respect.

Carr began his career in 1973 as an 18-year-old volunteer paramedic with the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Rescue Squad. He was hired as a career firefighter/paramedic in Montgomery County in 1977 and progressed through the ranks. He became the first operational fire chief of the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service in 2004. He was a long-standing advocate of the fire service, especially firefighter safety, and leaves a strong legacy of innovation and professionalism.

Photo: Chief Carr“The fire service has lost a great leader and we’ve lost a great friend,” said Montgomery County’s recently-retired Fire Chief Richard Bowers. “Chief Carr was respected nationally and internationally. He led the department’s successful efforts to become a nationally accredited fire department and was a man of great vision, passion and integrity who led from the heart.”

Chief Carr is survived by his wife Anne, son West and daughter Amy, his parents, a brother and sister.

Note: A memorial service is being planned for Chief Carr on Friday, June 14 at 2 p.m. at the Public Safety Memorial located on the grounds of the Public Safety Headquarters at 100 Edison Park Drive in Gaithersburg. Reception to follow in the Lobby Level Conference Room. RSVP to MCFRS. MCFRS.RSVP@montgomerycountymd.gov.

County Employees Fill Need as Foster Parentstop

Photo: Carroll Neal and his wife Diane Henderson-NealCarroll Neal and his wife Diane Henderson-Neal are County employees who, for the past four years, have opened their hearts and home to a number of foster children in Montgomery County.

The month of May is National Foster Care Month, a time to recognize that we each can play a part in enhancing the lives of children and youth in foster care. The Department of Health and Human Services’ Division of Child Welfare Services, has chosen to spotlight the Neal couple for making a significant impact on the lives of some of Maryland’s foster children. They have been licensed, foster/adoptive parents since January 2009 and in that time have fostered five children. After adopting one of their foster children, they are now in the process of adopting his younger brother. They continue to be available to provide care to more children, and are especially open to sibling groups.

Diane Henderson-Neal is a Montgomery County Police Officer and Carroll Neal works for the Department of Correction and Rehabilitation as a correctional officer. In addition to their full-time jobs, they carve out time to provide a home to children in need, working diligently with each child in their care, helping to steer and mentor them. In particular, they aspire to steer young African American boys to become productive and responsible citizens.

“Becoming foster parents was one of the best decisions we have ever made,” said Carroll Neal. “We consider ourselves blessed to be able to give these children a loving home, whether it’s temporary or permanent. We would encourage anyone who is thinking about becoming a foster parent to pursue this opportunity to make a difference in the life of a child.”

Child Welfare Services is always seeking individuals and families who are willing to come forward and support some of our most vulnerable populations. Older foster children and youth are often placed far away from their friends, schools and families simply because there are not enough foster placements close to home.

Foster parents receive training and support from the County and financial assistance to cover expenses incurred by foster children.

For more information on becoming a foster or adoptive parent, call 240-777-1664 or visit the Montgomery County Foster Parenting webpage.

published by office of public information, sue tucker
Last edited: 5/28/2013