Paying Tribute to Senator Paul S. Sarbanes, Former Chair of the Congressional Fire Services Caucus

The Congressional Fire Service Institute’s Board of Directors and staff extend their sympathies to the family of former Maryland Senator, Paul S. Sarbanes who passed away on December 6th at the age of 87.

After three terms in the House of Representatives, Senator Sarbanes ran successfully for the United States Senate in 1976 and served five terms until his retirement in 2006.  Throughout his political career, Senator Sarbanes developed a reputation for his intellect and quiet approach to legislating.  He championed many causes, including the fire and emergency services. Following the release of the 1973 America Burning report, he helped establish and locate the National Fire Academy campus in Emmitsburg, Maryland.  In 1990, he won passage of his legislation to make the memorial at the Academy the official United States memorial to fallen firefighters. And in1992, Senator Sarbanes introduced the legislation that created the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation and served as its strongest advocate and guardian on Capitol Hill until his retirement.

In 1993, Senator Sarbanes became a Co-Chairman of the Congressional Fire Services Caucus and held the position of Chair between 2001 and 2003. In 1997, CFSI awarded him its Legislator of the Year award for his leadership in support of our nation’s fire and emergency services.  His commitment to firefighter health and safety earned him the admiration and appreciation of those members of the fire service who shared his passion and commitment for making the fire service a safer profession.

Following the Senator’s retirement, the Congressional Fire Services Institute and National Fallen Firefighters Foundation established the Senator Paul S. Sarbanes Fire Service Safety Leadership Award.  Each year, the award recognizes fire departments and fire service organizations for outstanding leadership in advancing firefighter health and safety and memorializes the Senator’s legacy.

“I had the privilege and pleasure of a nearly 40-year professional relationship with Senator Sarbanes,” said CFSI Vice President Jim Estepp.  “He was such an effective legislator because of the substance of his arguments.  You always wanted Senator Paul Sarbanes on your side.  On behalf of CFSI, I extend my sympathies to the Sarbanes family on the loss of such a great man and public servant.”