SEAVEY JAMES PERRINE SEAVEY, SR. "JIM" An honored and beloved first responder in the greater DC area for 42 years and a key member of state, regional, and national fire and rescue organizations, James Perrine Seavey, Sr., passed away September 4, 2018, after a courageous five-year battle with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Born in Washington, DC, on April 12, 1960, to parents, Hollis M. Seavey, Sr. and Anne Munger Seavey, Jim grew up in Bethesda's Westmoreland Hills. Spending most of his life in Maryland, he eventually settled his family in Monrovia, where his lifelong sense of community was quickly cherished by his neighbors. If it pertained to firefighting, Jim embraced it. His calling began in 1976 as a 16-year-old Walt Whitman High School volunteer at the Glen Echo Fire Department. There he rose to the rank of Assistant Chief. He moved to the Cabin John Park Volunteer Fire Department in 1990 and took office as Fire/Rescue Chief in 1992, a post he held until retiring on December 31, 2017. Having declared from a young age a goal of becoming a career firefighter for the District of Columbia, he fulfilled his dream on May 27, 1986. As a member of Recruit Class No. 296, Jim graduated as class president and was appointed to No. 1 Truck Company (Chinatown). Soon after, he transferred to No. 16 Engine Company (Franklin Square), where he found his true passion while attaining the ranks of Pumper Driver, Wagon Driver, Sergeant, and Lieutenant, all in the very same firehouse. He later served as a Lieutenant with No. 17 Engine Company (Brookland). It was during this 10-year assignment that Jim tackled a growing and intense desire to weave his firehouse into the fabric of the local community. Promoted to Captain, Jim's career culminated with an assignment at No. 11 Truck Company (Brightwood), retiring on January 9, 2016. Throughout his career, Jim's passion was elevating morale, empowering members to exceed expectations, and providing through example unparalleled selflessness at every opportunity. He was the first Honor Guard Sergeant in the DC Emerald Society Pipes and Drums. A few days before his passing, they visited him at his home and played the marching songs he loved. As a sign of his equal passion for a certain sipping whiskey, he was an Honorary Fire Chief of the Jack Daniels Fire Brigade in Lynchburg, Tennessee. Casual conversation over a cocktail made any night with Jim most memorable. Last month's publication of the Lavender Ribbon Report: Best Practices for Preventing Firefighter Cancer, which he researched and co-authored, was a timely example of Jim's national influence. Setting out 11 actions that can dramatically reduce deaths of first responders from cancers caused by the very fires they fight, it was published by the International Association of Fire Chiefs. Jim also held several positions, serving on the Board of Directors of the National Volunteer Fire Council, National Fire Rescue Group Purchasing Order, International Association of Fire Chiefs Volunteer and Combination Officers Section, and the International Rescue Symposium. He also served as Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Maryland State Firemen's Association and President of the Eastern Division of the International Association of Fire Chiefs. Jim also worked to further the U.S. fire service on an international level, fostering a foundation for international fire service cooperation and understanding. He created an opportunity for cultural, technological, and educational exchange between the U.S. and German fire services, and in recognition of these efforts the German Fire Service awarded him with the Bronze, Silver, and Gold Medals as well as the German Silver Cross. He also was instrumental in working with the Embassy of Chile and the Chilean Navy on the acquisition, transfer and hands-on training on a retired fire engine from Cabin John Park VFD. In 2009, Jim was nationally recognized by Fire Chief Magazine as Volunteer Fire Chief of the Year. He also received the Leslie B. Thompson Award for Lifetime Achievement by the Maryland Fire Chiefs Association, the group's highest honor, and was recognized locally by the Montgomery County Volunteer Fire Rescue Association as Firefighter of the Year for life-saving efforts. An avid traveler, he cherished lifetime friendships in Halstenbek, Germany, San Felipe, Mexico and Eatons' Ranch in Wolf, Wyoming. Jim's love for mountain and waterfront views guided him to family vacation homes in Rehoboth Bay, Delaware, and Big Horn, Wyoming. Jim is remembered for his extraordinary devotion to family and for often undertaking duties that transcended traditional roles. While he shared in human weakness, he was unwavering in his values, commitment, and ethos. He was a faithful soul and he joined in a strong love for God. Jim is survived by his wife, Mary Seavey of Monrovia, Maryland, his son and fellow firefighter, James Perrine Seavey, Jr. (Justine), of Rockville, Maryland, a sister, The Reverend Katherine Seavey Bryant of Leesburg, Virginia, a brother, Hollis Mackay Seavey, Jr. (Jennifer), of Damascus, Maryland, a sister-in-law, Elizabeth Crampton (Lennie), and a nephew, Anthony Sangabino. He also leaves behind innumerable adopted children and mentees and his beloved four-legged cancer companion Maddie. A memorial service will be held on Friday, September 14, 2018, at 1000 hours, at the Washington National Cathedral, located at 3101 Wisconsin Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20016. A Catholic Mass-Celebration of Life will be held on Saturday, September 15, 2018, at 1100 hours, at Saint Ignatius of Loyola, 4103 Prices Distillery Road, Ijamsville, Maryland 21754. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations may be made in Chief Seavey's name to HEROES, Inc. at https://heroes.org/donate-now/ or to the DC Firefighters Burn Foundation at https://www.dcffburnfoundation.org/make-a-donation/">www.dcffburnfoundation.org/make-a-donation/. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations may be made in Chief Seavey's name to HEROES, Inc. at https://heroes.org/donate-now/ or to the DC Firefighters Burn Foundation at https://www.dcffburnfoundation.org/make-a-donation/.
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Published in The Washington Post on Sep. 9, 2018.