Bill Halstead, Sandy Hook's leading volunteer for half a century, dies
William Halstead, chief of the Sandy Hook Volunteer Fire and Rescue Company since 1978, died Friday, July 8.
“Our community is what it is because of volunteerism,” Newtown First Selectman Dan Rosenthal said. “Newtown runs based on volunteerism. And when I think of volunteers, I can’t think of a better person than Bill.”
Halstead’s company said he died after coming home from a call. The cause of death hasn’t been made public yet.
“I’d rather leave that as something that the family shares when they want to share it,” Rosenthal said.
Gov. Ned Lamont has directed flags to be lowered in Halstead’s memory. Halstead was also a past president of the Connecticut State Firefighters Association.
“His passing after responding to a call in the line of duty is heartbreaking, and I send my deepest sympathies to his family, friends and fellow firefighters from the Sandy Hook Volunteer Fire and Rescue Company,” Lamont said in a written statement emailed to Connecticut Public on Monday.
Halstead joined the company in 1965 on the day he turned 16. Thirteen years later, he was named chief.
Rosenthal said Halstead was always direct with people, and he was always advocating for his department.
“[It] usually had to do with money,” Rosenthal said with a laugh.
He also said Halstead was always working, no matter the hour. From the scanner in his car, Rosenthal said he would always hear Halstead jumping on calls.
“As quickly as the call went out, you’d hear, ‘401 is on,’” Rosenthal said.
Halstead worked as a volunteer in Newtown for 57 years – from the day he turned 16 until the night he passed away.
He was 73.