Within the past several weeks, the Boston and eastern Massachusetts area first responders faced the tragic and untimely deaths of brothers of the shield.

On Wednesday March 26, Boston Fire Lt. Ed Walsh and Firefighter Michael Kennedy were killed while fighting a giant windswept 9-alarm fire.

On Tuesday April 1, Plymouth Police Motorcycle Officer Gregg Maloney, 44 was killed on-duty when his department motorcycle crashed along a reported dangerous section of roadway.

On Saturday April 5, Easton Police Officer Charles Hopkins, 40 died suddenly while on duty at his home during his patrol shift.  The cause of death is being investigated as a non-criminal circumstance.

The latest tragedy announced by the Boston Police is the sudden death of Officer Dennis O. Simmonds, 28 who collapsed while on duty in the Boston Police Academy gym on Thursday April 10.  Officer Simmonds died Thursday night at the hospital. He was a 6-year department  \veteran who was appointed to the Youth Violence Task Force in 2012.

Boston Police Commissioner William Evans stated in the Boston Globe on April 12, 2014, “These guys, they really care about the city, they really care about making the city safe.”  Evans continued to say, “Every night, they’re out on the streets of the city working hard on the violence and getting guns off the street.”   The department is stunned by this untimely death.

In the early morning hours of April 19, 2013, Officer Simmonds was among the many Boston area police officers engaged in the chase and violent gun battle in Watertown, Mass. between the police and the “alleged” Boston Marathon terrorist suspects who had just assassinated M.I.T. Police Officer Sean Collier in Cambridge.  During the gun battle, a homemade bomb was tossed at the police officers and it was reported that Officer Simmonds suffered a head injury during an explosion.

Officer Simmonds actions in the Watertown gun battle led to him being awarded the Boston Police Department’s Highest Award: The Schroeder Brothers Memorial Medal for Bravery.

Officer Simmonds was scheduled to be honored in May by the President of the United States for a Top Cop Award during Police Memorial Week.

Commissioner Evans stated, “I know the whole gang unit appreciates that they brought up such a great kid. Between the Marathon Bombing and his nightly work, he had all kinds of courage.  He should be commended, and it’s a sad day for the city.”

The cause of death is not determined at this time.  Funeral arrangements are incomplete.

Officer Simmonds, an example of BOSTON STRONG who may be gone but never forgotten.

Sgt. Mark St.Hilaire is a wellness contributor to L.E.T.  He is 28 year police veteran working in a busy Metro-west suburb of Boston, Massachusetts. He is a volunteer peer with a regional CISM Team.  You contact Mark by confidential email at: [email protected] . You can visit his site: www.rescueteamwellness.com or follow him on Linked-In or on Twitter: @NPD3306.