Passing of Chief Mulhern - Wilmington, DE
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
John Patrick Mulhern Jr. "Sean"
Sean, 66, died on Tuesday April 15, 2008 surrounded by family and friends in the Christiana Hospital.
Our Beloved Husband and Father lost his two-year courageous battle with Leukemia. Sean was the ultimate family man. His family was his first priority at all times. The love, compassion and care he had for his wife and two daughters was boundless. His wife and daughters loved, respected and cared deeply for him. Colleen, Felicia, and Victoria are deeply saddened by his loss. We will never forget all he has done for us and our extended family.
Sean graduated from St. Ann's Elementary School, Salesianum High School '60, and Valley Forge Military Academy '62. He was the recipient of the esteemed V.F.M. McCloskey Award. As an adult, still attended military parades and served on many school boards. He began Brandywine Valley Fire and Safety in the 1960's, which is still in operation. Sean was a member of the National Guard from 1963 to 1970 rising from Private to Staff Sergeant as a full-time member. During the summer of 1968, he worked in Wilmington during the civil unrest and received the Medal of Service in Aid of Civil Authority.
Sean's firefighter career began with Wilmington Fire Department in 1971. He rose through the ranks from entry Firefighter all the way to Chief. He never lost any firefighters on the scene, which was his first priority. Chief Mulhern added to the department the following: Annual Fire Muster, restructured the rescue squad and developed a new design which is now Rescue #1, and by writing grants he was allowed to find funding during severe city budget cuts for fire protection inventory including fire equipment to costly fire trucks. The most innovative improvement from a large grant was to establish the first Marine Unit in Wilmington. The grants obtained the first fire boat and later upgraded to a larger boat and outfitted this to be utilized as a firefighting boat for the City Riverfront. This lowered the cost of insurance to incoming business on the Riverfront. Many years later, this contribution helped to assure new investors that their properties' building fires would be fought from two sides, land and water. This fire boat's refitting was carried out by many loyal Wilmington Firefighters in their off-duty hours, and they rebuilt the boats at no cost to the City or fire department budget. It was a voluntary effort of many loyal and talented firefighters who all enjoyed offering free services to improve the fire department's inventory of large firefighting equipment.
Chief Mulhern saw computers as the future and computerized the Wilmington Fire Department. He began a program to promote fire prevention and investigations which helped to reduce fires, life, and property losses; and increase prosecution of people who intended to create fires. This education lowered deaths to city residents, fire personnel, and property losses. Chief Mulhern actively fought all losses of fire personnel's jobs, and he was able to ward off any layoffs of personnel. He was the co-coordinator in the construction of the newly built McLaughlin Public Safety Building. Sean was an honorary member of many volunteer fire organizations. Chief Mulhern and Ronald Ayres had begun the archiving and planning for the Wilmington Fire Museum. They have collected many historical artifacts. The Chief has donated his lifelong extensive collection of Wilmington Fire Memorabilia. The two have spent immeasurable off-duty hours working on the construction and organization of this museum.
Other fire related project memberships, affiliations and associations were Civil Defense Firefighter, Member of the Eastern Division of Fire Chiefs' Association, New Castle County Fire Chiefs' Association, Delaware Valley Fire Chiefs, International Association of Arson Investigators, National Fire Protection Association, Honorary Member of the Union Historical Fire Society. After retiring from the Wilmington Fire Department, in 1993 he joined the State of Delaware as Director of the Delaware Emergency Management Agency (DEMA). The DEMA operations were moved to a central location in Smyrna. Mr. Mulhern was involved in the planning of a new state-of-the-art building for DEMA operations. This building has attracted national and international attention as a facility for our times and the future. At DEMA, he developed a partnership between DEMA and DelDOT, which helped Delawareans to streamline communications during emergencies. Mr. Mulhern directed many serious managed responses in devastating weather related conditions, and planned simulated disaster scenarios for personnel in the State to keep communications and rescue operations current. He was in charge of the State's emergency preparations and operations during 911 and created post planning for terrorism attacks.
In 2001, Mr. Mulhern joined MBNA Bank as a Vice President in Security. He was Vice President responsible for covering national and international MBNA personnel and properties after 911. He was an emergency planner, emergency disaster trainer, and leader of evacuation drills and developed and directed post 911 education policies and programs. His anti-terrorism expertise, emergency management skills, knowledge of hazardous materials and weapons of mass destruction, and exceptional fire background, Sean was prepared for post 911 prevention strategies and planning for MBNA personnel and properties. Sean's many interests included Irish History; Firefighting History; Valley Forge Military Academy; Military History; Antiques; Ireland travels; family vacations; and his cigars. He was a technical advisor for educational videos for Fire House Magazine, in a People Magazine article for the Baker Life Chute and contributed to articles in the National and International fire magazines. Sean taught a course at Harvard University on Emergency Management for Terrorism Events.
Mulhern and Tattan family deeply loved and respected our Sean.
He is survived by his wife, Colleen Pope Mulhern; children, Felicia M. Pope and Victoria L. Pope; Sean's sister and brother-in-law, Kathleen and William C. Tattan, Sr. of Worcester, MA; nephews, William C. Tattan, Jr., of Rome Italy; John Tattan and wife Ann Marie, of North Andover, MA; niece, Susan Greene and husband, P.J. Greene, of Hingham, MA; 2 grand nieces; 2 grand nephews; brother-in-law, Richard H. Pope Jr. and his mother-in-law, Gretta Pope, both of Wilmington.
Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 11 am on Tuesday April 22, 2008 at St. Elizabeth's Roman Catholic Church, 809 S. Broom St., Wilmington, DE 19805. Entombment will follow Mass in Gracelawn Memorial Park. Family and friends may call from 5-8 pm on Monday April 21 at CHANDLER FUNERAL HOME, 2506 Concord Pike, Wilmington.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions to the education fund for daughters, Felicia M. and Victoria L. Pope. Checks made payable to Felicia M. Pope/Victoria L. Pope; WSFS Bank, P.O. Box 1889, Wilmington, DE, 19899-9713, ATTENTION: Pope Education Fund on envelope.
Information obtained from WWW.DELAWAREONLINE.COM