2013-10-10 / Front Page

Putnam Mourns Bob McMahon

By Eric Gross

Photo / Eric GrossPhoto / Eric Gross

Robert McMahon was a legend in the field of firefighting and EMS.

McMahon, 67, a resident of Lake Carmel, who retired last year after serving residents of Putnam since 1990 first as a deputy fire coordinator and from January 2000 to August 2012 as Commissioner of Emergency Services, lost a valiant battle with cancer Saturday evening surrounded by his family.

In February, Putnam County renamed its 9-1-1 Center the Robert McMahon Communications Center.

During McMahon’s watch as commissioner the Putnam Fire Training Center in Kent was expanded to include a state-of-the-art burn building training simulator. McMahon also was instrumental in the construction of the 911 Communications Center and All-Hazards Emergency Operations headquarters to be housed in a single location.

Prior to his county employment, McMahon served in the Navy and spent a career with the FDNY. He was a registered nurse, former chief and life member of the Lake Carmel FD as well as a national and state certified fire training instructor.

County Executive MaryEllen Odell expressed sadness over McMahon’s passing calling him a “Putnam County hero.

Bob’s persistence and leadership has brought our county into the 21st century when it comes to emergency services. Bob’s life was well lived. It’s such a pity it was cut short by this insidious disease known as cancer.”

George Jones, a Mahopac firefighter who is employed fulltime with the FDNY, called McMahon the “single most dynamic force behind bringing well-synchronized and modern emergency services to Putnam County. While we will never know the number of lives saved due to Bob’s efforts in updating Putnam’s emergency services, we do know beyond a doubt that his life has been an extraordinary one filled with service to all. For that we will be forever grateful.”

Putnam’s current Commissioner of Emergency Services Adam Stiebeling was also deeply saddened by his former boss’ passing: “Bob was one of a kind. His leadership, dedication and day in and day out foresight will never be equaled. Putnam County is a better place in which to live, work and raise a family due to Commissioner McMahon’s efforts.”

An emotional Stiebeling  recalled serving as deputy commissioner for a decade with McMahon: “Bob became a part of my life. I will never forget the mission that Commissioner McMahon laid out for our county’s future.”

McMahon is survived by his wife of 44 years, Donna, and three sons—Robert, Brian and Brendan.

Robert Jr. remembered his dad as a “dedicated man who taught my brothers and me how to be dedicated men. He steered us in the right direction as he has emergency services in the county he loved so dearly.”

A funeral mass will be held Wednesday at St. James Church in Carmel at 10 a.m. Services and calling hours take place Tuesday from 2-4 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. at the Putnam County Training and Operations Center on the Donald Smith Governmental Campus in Carmel.

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“True friends are like diamonds, precious and rare. False friends are like leaves, found everywhere.” ~Anonymous