NVFC Mourns Passing of Past Chair Robert “Red” McKeon

Robert “Red” McKeon (left) received the NVFC’s E. James Monihan Director Award in 2014.

National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) founding member and former chair Robert “Red” McKeon passed away on March 2, 2018. McKeon was a dedicated member of the fire service for over 70 years, played a critical role in the formation of the modern field of EMS, and was an active voice in the NVFC since its inception.

“It is with great sadness that we bid farewell to Red McKeon,” said NVFC Chair Kevin D. Quinn. “Red dedicated his life to serving others, and he was a respected and valued voice in the fire and emergency services at the local, state, and national levels. We are grateful for all that he has done for the volunteer fire and emergency medical services. His work continues to live on in the current and future generations of responders.”

McKeon joined the Occum (CT) Fire Department in 1944, where he served as chief for 34 years and continued as a life honorary member. He also served as President and Treasurer of the Connecticut State Firefighters Association and was appointed by the Governor as Commissioner on a variety of fire/EMS task forces.

McKeon was among the group of fire personnel that developed the EMT/MRT courses between 1964 and 1989, and he was the first person in Connecticut to become a certified EMT/EMT-I in 1970. He also helped develop HIV/AIDS training and special training for nuclear power plants.

In 1975, McKeon coordinated with 13 states to begin the development of the NVFC. He remained active in the Council for the rest of his life, including serving as Chair from 1991-1995. As part of his efforts to promote the volunteer fire services on the national level, he testified before the Senate and Congress that fire, EMS, and police are the home guard. He also played a role in developing the Public Safety Officers’ Benefits Program.

McKeon received the NVFC’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 1999 and the E. James Monihan Director Award in 2014 in recognition for his remarkable service and achievements. He was also one of the first inductees into the Connecticut Firefighters Hall of Fame.

View obituary here.