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Family, city mourn loss of Cape firefighter

June 6, 2018
By CJ HADDAD (cjhaddad@breezenewspapers.com) , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

cjhaddad@breezenewspapers.com

The untimely passing of Cape Coral Fire Department Engineer Michael Camelo Jr. has left the department "without a brother" and his two young children without a father.

"It is with deepest sympathy and regret that I announce the passing of Cape Coral Fire Engineer/Driver Michael Camelo Jr He was surrounded by his friends and family and with members of the Cape Coral Fire Department standing vigil. We are greatly saddened by his untimely death. This is not only a great loss to the Cape Coral Fire Department and his family, but to the entire Southwest Florida community. We all lost a Brother today," said CCFD Chief Ryan W. Lamb in a written statement shortly after his passing last week.

Camelo passed away due to a brain aneurysm on May 31 among loved ones, he was 37.

Funeral arrangements have been made with the viewing being held at Gendron Funeral Home today, June 6, from 5-9 p.m.

Camelo's funeral will take place at St. Andrew's Catholic Church on Thursday, June 7, at 11 a.m.

"His father worked for the department for 36 years, he grew up around the station," Lamb said. "It's humbling to see the outpour of support from the community. We are receiving cards, emails and so many kind words, it restores your faith in humanity."

Lamb said they expect over 1,000 people to pay their respects, and that Gendron Funeral Home will be picking up all funeral expenses.

"We still have someone with him on watch for 24 hours, until he is laid to rest. We don't want him alone until the very end," Lamb added.

The CCFD, with permission from Camelo's family and the church, will broadcast the funeral on Facebook Live, via the CCFD Facebook page.

"We have people coming from all over the state and beyond, Michael's reach was a long one. We have people who feel terrible they cannot make it, so hopefully this can reach more of Michael's loved ones," said Lamb.

A fund has been started for his two children, Anna, 5, and Michael III, 3, by Eric Chudzik, president of the Local International Association of Fire Fighters 2424.

Chudzik knew Camelo fairly well, for 15 years - long before he was able to become a firefighter.

"He was an outstanding firefighter. He had a passion for the job that was second to none. He was always willing to perfect his craft either by taking classes or training, then take what he had learned and pass on that knowledge to his co-workers or his students at the Fire Academy," he said.

"As good as firefighter as he was, he was an even better person,"?Chudzik continued. "He was one the happiest people I have ever had the pleasure of being around. He was always the first to step up and help a brother or sister that was in need, yet never really asked anything of anyone. He was selfless to a fault. Which is what made him such a good person."

He, along with members of the CCFD administration, felt that starting the fund for his children was the least they could do and that they pride themselves on having the ability to help their own in a time of need, and to Chudzik, no need is bigger than this one.

He said Camelo will be remembered fondly, but greatly missed by his fire department brothers and sisters.

"It is devastating to say the least," he said. "It always hurts to loose someone you care for, or work with - but the brother and sisterhood is completely different. This is truly a family in every sense of the word and we all feel as if we lost a brother. I have no doubt that this will bring us closer together at the same time though."

Donations can be made at gofundme.com/ccfdcamelo, or, at any Fifth Third Bank, by making a deposit "to the benefit of Anna and Michael Camelo."

Over $50,000 has already been donated for his children's futures.

"This support has far exceeded our expectations," Lamb said.

A second generation firefighter, Camelo joined CCFD in February 2006 and earlier this year, was promoted to fire engineer/driver.

He was a paramedic, Hazardous Materials Technician, Public Safety Boat Operator, member of the Firefighter Survival and Rapid Intervention team and served on the Honor Guard.

In 2017, Camelo received his A.S. in Fire Service from Columbia Southern University.

In giving back to the community, Camelo was a Basic Life Support Instructor, having taught numerous citizens CPR.

He was also an instructor for the Cape Coral Community Emergency Response Team and an instructor at the Fort Myers Fire Academy.

Camelo received a full scholarship to attend the Fire Department Instructors Conference International in Indianapolis just this April.

"Mike was able to live his dream. He followed in his father's footsteps and became a very good firefighter and even better father to his two young children. Mike lived a good life, and those that had the pleasure of knowing him should be thankful that we were able to take that ride with him," Chudzik added.

Gendron Funeral home is located at 2325 East Mall Drive, Fort Myers.

St. Andrew's Catholic Church is at 2628 Del Prado Blvd., South, south of the Midpoint Bridge, in Cape Coral.

 
 
 

 

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