Andrew ‘Andy’ Seelin was a a leader and a friend, a man of dedication, a compassion, a a devoted husband, father, friend and Chief. His loss will have a profound effect on his family, friends and the Officers and Members of Stony Brook Fire Department.
Andy Seelin joined the Stony Brook Fire Department in June of 1997 at the age of 38. From the very beginning Andy was dedicated to his community and his department, so much so that he was awarded the Probationary Firefighter of the Year Award in 1999, the Firefighter of the Year in 2000 and Rescue Man of the Year in 2001. In 2002 he became a Lieutenant of the Eagle Hook & Ladder Company #1 and went on to serve as Captain in 2003, 2004 and 2005.
In 2006 Seelin became 3rd Assistant Chief and rose through the ranks serving as Chief of Department in 2012 and 2013. Upon completing his eight years as a Chief, Seelin saw that the department needed the continued stability of a seasoned veteran of the Chief’s office and in 2014 again began to ascend the ranks serving as 3rd Assistant Chief in 2014 and 2015, and 2nd Assistant Chief in 2016. In November of 2016 Seelin announced to the department he would complete the year and then step down from the Chiefs ranks in order to enter the hospital to receive treatment for Myelofibrosis. “I am in the fight of my life,” he explained to the department. It was the department’s sincere hope that Chief Seelin would receive a successful bone morrow transplant, recover from his illness and then return to the Chiefs ranks the next year. On February 13, 2017, the department’s hope turned to despair when Chief Seelin lost his battle and died peacefully with his family by his side.
During department firematic services, a neighbor of Chief Seelin’s described a horrific morning in 2000, when a she found her two-year-old daughter unconscious and blue from a total airway obstruction. Rather than calling 911, the panicked mother called the Seelin home, where luckily Seelin answered and then ran to the neighbor’s house, where he directed the mother to call 911. When the mother returned to the front lawn the toddler was breathing and the color of her face began to return to normal. Seelin had cleared an obstruction from the child’s airway. “Andy saved my daughter’s life that day.” The horror and then relief as the mother told of Chief Seelin’s actions on that day could be felt by all in attendance. A few years later another neighbor of the Seelin’s was in need of help, the call went out as a male cardiac arrest; again Seelin was there, responded, began CPR, applied the AED and administered shocks. The patients pulse returned and breathing was restored. That gentleman made a full recovery and was present at the firematic service to pay final respects to a friend and the man who saved his life.
Words that describe Chief Seelin are kind, compassionate and dedicated as a husband, father, friend and Chief, Seelin was all these things. He was always calm on the scene and knew what to do when it needed to be done, regardless of the task he was always ready to do what it took.
He will be missed……
-Fire News photos by Dennis Whittam