Michael Dolan, a beloved Baldwin firefighter who was remembered as one of the most generous people in the department, died on March 7 following a year-long battle with lung cancer. He was 29.
“I’m in shock,” Lt. Courtney Donaldson, a Baldwin firefighter, said in a statement published on the departments’ website. “Although you know he is fighting this terrible disease, you are never ready for this news.”
Dolan entered the department on Sept. 9, 2011 and spent seven years in Hose Company 4. He was a lifelong Baldwinite. In a 2018 interview with the Herald, Dolan said he joined the department to help out his hometown. “I wanted to give back to the community I’ve lived in my entire life,” he said.
His service inspired his mother, Bobbi Dolan, to join the First Aid Company. “I saw his enthusiasm for the job and how much he loved it,” she said. “He really did just want to give back to the community, and that’s just the type of guy Michael is.”
Christopher Abed, First Aid Company captain, said Michael Dolan would give anyone the shirt off his back without a question, “even if he just met you five minutes ago.” “I would have to agree with that,” Brien Cummings, the Hose Company Four captain, added. “That definitely describes him.”
Dolan enjoyed six years with the department before he had to take time off because of his illness. He started having breathing problems in July 2017, and his doctors first thought he was battling pneumonia — but after visiting Northwell-LIJ at the behest of his mother and her co-workers, he was diagnosed with Stage 4 adenocarcinoma lung cancer, a type of cancer that affects non-smokers.
There is no known cure for Stage 4 adenocarcinoma lung cancer, but Dolan said he was working hard to get back to work and firefighting. “It was fun at first not having to get up in the morning for work,” he said. “But now I just find myself asking people, ‘Hey, do you want to go to the laundromat or something?’”
The Baldwin Fire Department held at least two fundraisers to benefit Dolan’s treatments, including a night of stand-up at its Grand Avenue headquarters. The Laughter Saves Lives Foundation, founded by North Bellmore resident and retired New York City firefighter John Larocchia, provided the comedians. The group does benefit shows for firefighters and police officers, and monthly performances for veterans.
Dolan's wake will be held at Donza Funeral Home, at 333 Atlantic Ave. in East Rockaway, on March 10 from 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. He is survived by his mother, Bobbi, father, Michael, and sister, Jillian.