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White Plains Official Honors Fallen Firefighter

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – A funeral for Deputy Fire Chief Donald Keinz was held Tuesday at Our Lady Of Sorrows Parish at 9:15 a.m. Public Safety Commissioner David Chong gave the following remarks for the eulogy:

"Thank You Keinz family, most specifically to his wife Ann-Marie, his daughter Emily and his son Bryan for allowing me to have the honor and privilege of saying a few words about the Department of Public Safety's Donald Keinz, our Donald Keinz, our deputy fire chief, our brother in arms and, most importantly, our friend.

"First of all, Ann-Marie, Emily, Bryan and the entire extended Keinz family, on behalf of our mayor, Thomas Roach, all of our Common Council members, every official in this city, elected and appointed, every employee in this city, and the thousands of people throughout the county and the region that have been lucky enough to be touched over the years by Donald, we extend to you, our deepest condolences and you have our heartfelt prayers.

"As Donald was a member of our family for 34 years, you will also forever be a member of the public safety family.

"Deputy Fire Chief Donald Keinz, a man dedicated to a profession he loved, a man dedicated to a city he loved, and a man who committed his professional lifetime, 34 years, to the service and protection of the people he loved. How can we ever thank him enough? Certainly words can never do enough justice. I have heard so many stories about the professional side of Donald, the man, the firefighter, the trainer, the mentor, the friend.

"I could stand here for days speaking about all the lives that Donald has touched. There are so many stories. The amazing thing is that I don't think anyone would mind.

"That's how special Donald was to all of us packed into this church and standing outside.

"Donald started in the fire department in 1978. He worked on the line and was promoted in 1991 to Lieutenant. During his time as a lieutenant he worked in fire prevention and training. He brought his very high standards with him and would often say to me, "Let them make their mistakes in the academy, there's no room for error in the real world." Donald was as tough as nails and as bright and full of energy as the sun. He could light up a room and was never afraid to voice his opinion. In 2008 he was promoted to deputy chief, one of the highest ranking members in the White Plains Fire Department.

"As a deputy chief, Donald was tasked along with then Police Lieutenant John Fuerst to fine tune the joint response of both fire and police and ensure that the city had good, solid working plans to engage any possible disaster. They both did a miraculous job and our city will always be better for their efforts.

"As his fellow firefighters will say, "there was a comfort level just knowing that Deputy Chief Keinz was around. He made us all better by his presence. At the scene of many an emergency, he was the steady hand, always prepared, always knowing what to do. Whether it be working fires, wicked storms, horrible accidents, blackouts, any type of emergency, it was comforting knowing that Deputy Chief Keinz was around.  His fellow brothers on the fire department, his chief, Richard Lyman, his fellow deputy chiefs, Deputy Chiefs Houlihan, Ciocca, Griffin, Farrell and Delanoy, the lieutenants and the firefighters all have said it best: "When the heat was on, there was no one better to have around than Don."

"The department will miss you, Deputy Chief Keinz. The city that you made a better place will miss you; certainly your family and friends will miss you.

"Donald you left us too suddenly and too soon, but your accomplishments will be here for a long time. So rest and know that your legacy continues to protect this city and the ones you love.

"Dear Ann-Marie, Emily, Bryan and the entire Keinz family, when you leave this church today, take a look at the sea of uniforms that will be outside to salute your husband, father, friend and hero. Besides the first responders, take a look at all the other people that are here today, from all walks of life and all professions. They are here because of the respect, gratitude and admiration of the entire city and the profession of firefighting. They are there in honor of your beloved Donald, and our beloved deputy fire chief.

"Deputy Chief Keinz used to salute me, every time I saw him. Even in the office, he would salute, and I would find myself instinctively saluting back. One day I said to him, Don, you know you don't have to salute me in the office? In his dry, witty sense of humor, he just said, that's OK, I salute everyone.

"We'll, my friend, today I and a grateful city salute you. Rest in peace, deputy chief, rest in peace my friend."

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