Donald A. Hastings, 88, of Jefferson, passed away on the morning of Jan. 4 at his home. He was born May 18, 1930 in Tallman, N.Y., a son of the late Charles and Madeline (Lewis) Hastings.
Don grew up in Tallman, N.Y. where he began his decades of dedicated community service as a junior firefighter with the Tallman Volunteer Fire Department. Don moved to Spring Valley, N.Y. and immediately joined the Columbian Fire Engine Company No. 1, one of three volunteer fire companies that served Spring Valley. Don rose through the ranks of the Spring Valley Fire Department, serving as deputy chief from 1960 through 1962 and he was elected to serve as fire chief from 1962 through 1964. During Don’s tenure as fire chief, several major fires struck Spring Valley. These large fires required the response of numerous local fire departments and strong leadership to coordinate this response.
Upon completion of his term as fire chief in Spring Valley, then Rockland County Fire Coordinator William Herman appointed Don to serve as a Deputy Fire Coordinator. The County Fire Coordinator managed the Rockland County Fire Mutual Aid System, the Fire Department Dispatch System, and operation of the Rockland County Fire Training Center. Don’s primary responsibility as deputy fire coordinator was to respond to large fires and other incidents to help local fire chiefs lead and coordinate the response of numerous fire, police, EMS and other agencies. Upon the retirement of William Herman in 1977, Don was appointed by the Rockland County Legislature to serve as the Rockland County Fire Coordinator. Don served in this position until his retirement in 1991. Under Don’s leadership, the mutual aid system, the emergency communications system and the training opportunities for Rockland County’s volunteer firefighters and EMS providers improved immensely.
Upon his retirement in 1991, Don and his wife Patricia relocated to Jefferson. Don continued his commitment to community service in his new hometown by immediately joining Jefferson Fire & Rescue. Don quickly learned that the firefighters in Lincoln County did not have many opportunities to attend fire training classes and practice firefighting techniques as are provided in Rockland County. Don wanted to make this training available to Lincoln County firefighters so he worked with the Lincoln County Fire Chiefs Association and then Lincoln County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) Director Jerry Silva to arrange bus transportation for Lincoln County firefighters to travel to the Rockland County, N.Y. Fire Training Center. This training opportunity became very popular and over a number of years, hundreds of Maine firefighters had the opportunity to attend advanced firefighter training in topics including structure fire attack, combating oil and propane fires, search and rescue of victims trapped in burning buildings, flashover survival, and many other topics.
Because of Don’s efforts, a strong bond of friendship developed between the firefighters of Lincoln County and Rockland County, N.Y. This bond led to the sharing of intangible items such as knowledge and tangible items such as fire equipment no longer needed in Rockland County. Several Lincoln County fire departments currently utilize fire apparatus and equipment that was obtained from Rockland County fire departments.
When Don could no longer wear a breathing apparatus and run into a burning building, he continued to serve Jefferson Fire & Rescue as a safety officer, sharing his knowledge and experience with the officers and members of the department. He also continued to attend the meetings of the Lincoln County Fire Chiefs Association sharing his wisdom.
Besides his parents, he was predeceased by son, Christopher Lackovic; daughter, Donna Lewis; as well as several siblings.
Don is survived by wife, Patricia Hastings of Jefferson; and sons, Randy Lackovic and Steve Lackovic, both of Bristol.
Relatives and friends are invited to join the family for a time of visitation from 2-5 p.m., Sat., Jan. 12 at the Strong-Hancock Funeral Home, 612 Main St., Damariscotta. A funeral will be celebrated at 2 p.m., Sun., Jan. 13 at the Jefferson Village School, 48 Washington Rd., Jefferson. Interment will be held in the spring in the Hall Cemetery, Jefferson.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Jefferson Fire and Rescue, PO Box 5, Jefferson, ME 04348.
Condolences, and messages for Don’s family, may be expressed by visiting StrongHancock.com.
Arrangements are under the direction and care of the Strong-Hancock Funeral Home, 612 Main St., Damariscotta.