MAD RIVER TOWNSHIP – Firefighters, paramedics and EMTs at the Hustead Fire and EMS Departments have been paying tribute this week to a much-loved member of the two departments who was killed in a car crash March 20 on U.S. Route 68 in Greene County.
John Glatfelter Jr., 46, a lieutenant at Hustead Fire and EMS, crashed his truck while driving south on U.S. Route 68 around 6 a.m. on Monday morning. According to an Ohio State Highway Patrol investigation, Glatfelter drifted off the left side of U.S. Route 68 and then drove back across the road, going off the right side of the roadway and through a chain link fence. The truck continued into a yard hitting the corner of an outbuilding and smashing into a tree where it came to rest.
Hours after the accident, Mad River Township Trustees and Hustead Fire Chief Larry Ridenour paid tribute to Glatfelter by observing a moment of silence at the township trustees meeting. Ridenour expressed his shock as he spoke about Glatfelter.
“With great sadness, I must report that this morning we lost a loyal member of our department and longtime friend,” Ridenour said. “We all send our deepest condolences to John’s family on this very sad day.”
Mad River Township Trustee President Kathy Estep recounted about the occasions when Glatfelter would substitute for Hustead EMS Chief Heather Kaufman and present the EMS department’s reports at the township meetings.
“Lieutenant Glatfelter was always friendly and polite and he would present a good report every time,” Estep said.
Township Trustee Robert McClure Jr. stated that an untimely, tragic loss like Glatfelter’s passing only reminds everyone about how precious life is.
“John’s passing has sent shockwaves through this community,” said McClure. “It’s so sad.”
Township Trustee Joe Catanzaro described Glatfelter as a “decent man,” and expressed his condolences to Glatfelter’s family.
Following the township meeting, Mad River Township Fire and EMS Dispatcher Pam Weaver described Glatfelter as an “easygoing person” and a loyal husband and devoted father to two stepdaughters.
“There wasn’t a person who knew him who didn’t like John,” Weaver said. “He was a kindhearted, great guy.”
According to Ridenour, state troopers believed a medical condition was to blame for the accident. He also noted that many tributes have been posted on a tribute page set up for Glatfelter. Friends have described Glatfelter as an incredible man with a big heart, a gentle giant, loyal family man and good friend who always lent a helping hand in their tributes to the lieutenant.
Glatfelter was a veteran of the United States Marines, where he served in Desert Storm and Desert Shield. He was also employed at Norfolk Southern Railroad.
Glatfelter is survived by his wife of seven years, Dawn Michea Glatfelter; his mother, Betty; daughters, Michela and Ashlyne Griffis; and many other family members.
“John loved people, and he was always there to help everyone. That is why he was a valuable member of the Hustead Fire and EMS Departments,” said Ridenour.
A viewing and service for Glatfelter was held March 23 at Jackson Lytle & Lewis Life Celebration Center.
Linda Collins is a freelance reporter for Greene County News.