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Taneytown fire company paramedic Jeff Schaffer remembered at annual ‘Fallen Heroes’ ceremony

Debbie Schaffer, Hanover, PA, speaks with Baltimore County Executive John Olszewski, Jr., during the 36th annual Fallen Heroes Day observance at Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens. Schaffer's husband, Paramedic Jeffrey Lee ÒJeffÓ Schaffer of the Taneytown Volunteer Fire Company, is remembered for his service. He died on August 10, 2020 of COVID-19 after working as a first responder during the pandemic. May 7, 2021
Debbie Schaffer, Hanover, PA, speaks with Baltimore County Executive John Olszewski, Jr., during the 36th annual Fallen Heroes Day observance at Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens. Schaffer's husband, Paramedic Jeffrey Lee ÒJeffÓ Schaffer of the Taneytown Volunteer Fire Company, is remembered for his service. He died on August 10, 2020 of COVID-19 after working as a first responder during the pandemic. May 7, 2021 (Kim Hairston/The Baltimore Sun)

Jeffrey “Jeff” Schaffer, has been described as “caring,” “hard-working” and “motivated.”

Married for 40 years, having two children, four grandchildren and a 48 year-long career as a front-line worker, he has been called a hero.

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Schaffer, who lived in Hanover, Pennsylvania and served with four different Carroll County fire companies, was among five honored at the 36th Annual Fallen Heroes Ceremony at Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens in Timonium, Friday.

Paramedic Jeff Schaffer, who worked for four fire companies in Carroll County over his career, was honored Friday, May 7 at the annual Fallen Heroes ceremony at Memorial Gardens in Timonium.
Paramedic Jeff Schaffer, who worked for four fire companies in Carroll County over his career, was honored Friday, May 7 at the annual Fallen Heroes ceremony at Memorial Gardens in Timonium.

The ceremony honors emergency medical and rescue personnel, firefighters and police officers across the state who died in the line of duty.

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Those honored include, Otis Isaacs Jr. of the North East Fire Company in Cecil County, Michael “Mike” Powers of the Libertytown Volunteer Fire Department in Frederick County, Kyle David Olinger of the Montgomery County Police Department and Christine Peters of the Greenbelt Police Department in Prince George’s County.

Schaffer, 67, died on Aug. 10, 2020 at WellSpan York Hospital in York, Pennsylvania.

Serving on the front lines as a paramedic for the Taneytown Volunteer Fire Company as the pandemic surged through Maryland, he succumbed to COVID-19.

Nearly one year later, his life and work were honored by front-line heroes across the state.

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Schaffer was well known and respected in the medical services community, according to his obituary, and was awarded Paramedic of the Year in 1999 by the Maryland Institute for Medical Services Systems.

In addition to working at the Taneytown Volunteer Fire Company, he worked at several local departments, including the Lineboro Volunteer Fire Company, Pikesville Volunteer Fire Company, Westminster Volunteer Fire Department and the Pleasant Valley Community Fire Company, where he was a lifetime member.

Paramedic Jeff Schaffer, who worked for four fire companies in Carroll County over his career, was honored Friday, May 7 at the annual Fallen Heroes ceremony at Memorial Gardens in Timonium. Schaffer is shown when he was with Pleasant Valley Community Fire Company
Paramedic Jeff Schaffer, who worked for four fire companies in Carroll County over his career, was honored Friday, May 7 at the annual Fallen Heroes ceremony at Memorial Gardens in Timonium. Schaffer is shown when he was with Pleasant Valley Community Fire Company (Courtesy photo)

Mike Stewart, president of the Pleasant Valley Community Fire Company, volunteered with Schaffer at the company for about 36 years.

He described him as a hard-working individual who held various important positions in emergency medical services.

“[Schaffer] was a very motivated and willing person to do whatever he had to do,” he said. “Whether it was to teach younger people CPR or first-aid, he was always up for that.”

Bethany Six, EMS Lieutenant at the Taneytown Volunteer Fire Company knew Schaffer for about 15 years.

She described him as dedicated and passionate about his career in emergency medical services.

“[Schaffer] didn’t do it for the paycheck, he did it for the love of helping others,” she said. “He always told us he wouldn’t carry the cost unless he could do the job.”

Debbie Schaffer, Hanover, PA, wipes away tears during the 36th annual Fallen Heroes Day observance at Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens. Schaffer's husband, Paramedic Jeffrey Lee ÒJeffÓ Schaffer of the Taneytown Volunteer Fire Company, was one of those honored for his service. He died on August 10, 2020 of COVID-19 after working as a first responder during the pandemic. May 7, 2021
Debbie Schaffer, Hanover, PA, wipes away tears during the 36th annual Fallen Heroes Day observance at Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens. Schaffer's husband, Paramedic Jeffrey Lee ÒJeffÓ Schaffer of the Taneytown Volunteer Fire Company, was one of those honored for his service. He died on August 10, 2020 of COVID-19 after working as a first responder during the pandemic. May 7, 2021 (Kim Hairston/The Baltimore Sun)

Debbie Schaffer recalled her husband as being full of life and witty.

Outside of his career, she said he loved his family, his cats, to boat and crab and play the guitar, organ and piano.

Meeting him when they worked at the Social Security Administration, the two later married and had two children — Christopher and Shannon — and four grandchildren — Bradley, Robbie, Taylor and Mason.

She said when she thinks of her husband, she immediately thinks of his character.

Mason Schaffer, 8, leans against his father, Chris Schaffer, Pittsburg, during the wreath laying during the 36th annual Fallen Heroes Day observance at Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens. Chris' father, Paramedic Jeffrey Lee ÒJeffÓ Schaffer of the Taneytown Volunteer Fire Company, was honored for his service. He died on August 10, 2020 of COVID-19 after working as a first responder during the pandemic. May 7, 2021
Mason Schaffer, 8, leans against his father, Chris Schaffer, Pittsburg, during the wreath laying during the 36th annual Fallen Heroes Day observance at Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens. Chris' father, Paramedic Jeffrey Lee ÒJeffÓ Schaffer of the Taneytown Volunteer Fire Company, was honored for his service. He died on August 10, 2020 of COVID-19 after working as a first responder during the pandemic. May 7, 2021 (Kim Hairston/The Baltimore Sun)

“He really was my hero and he was the kind of person you would never expect this to happen to,” she said. “He was very humble and did his job and never expected anything in return.”

She said it means a lot to her and her family for him to be remembered on Fallen Heroes Day.

“It’s an honor that he is being memorialized in that way and we as a family are very appreciative,” she said.

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