HVFD Chief Emeritus Donald “Doc” Moltrup today was selected to join the prestigious 2022 class of the National Fire Heritage Center’s Hall of Legends, Legacies and Leaders, one of the American Fire Service’s highest honors.
“It is an overwhelming honor to be in the Hall of Legends, Legacies and Leaders with the fire service greats such as Chief Alan Brunacini, Dr. John Bryan, Chief Ron Siarnicki, Chief Jim Estepp, Frank Brannigan, James O. Page, John Hogland, and so many others,” Moltrup said today.
“Chief Moltrup is well known and respected throughout Maryland for his progressive leadership, knowledge, expertise, fireground command presence, and most importantly, his mentorship of many individuals who have served under him,” today’s announcement read. “As a leader, teacher, mentor, and molder of young men and women for over 35 years, Moltrup fostered an organization and an environment that provided an opportunity for his subordinates and peers to pursue their paths to success. These individuals, in turn, have touched many thousands of people worldwide.”
Nicknamed “Doc” by a city fire captain for delivering three babies in his first week riding the ambulance, Moltrup joined the HVFD in June 1962 and quickly rose through the ranks until his appointment as Chief in 1970, a position he held for an incredible 35 years until his retirement in December 2005. The HVFD’s “Member of the Year” is named for him.
“During my tenure as chief of the Hyattsville Volunteer Fire Department, I am most proud of guiding the department from it’s past of being a municipal department with a volunteer contingent to being a true volunteer full service department,” Moltrup said. “I am also extremely proud of the members and career staff during my time as chief who went on to significant careers in the fire service and other endeavors and to feel that I had some small part in their future success.”
Since he was a young boy he wanted to be a firefighter. A family friend subscribed to a magazine called Fireman and Moltrup recalls, “I would just pore over them.” His parents, however, made him finish high school before allowing him to join the rescue squad and encouraged him to pursue a technical profession.
Moltrup is credited with starting one of the nation’s first college live-in bunkroom programs, which are now a part of hundreds of volunteer fire departments nationwide providing critical staffing and resources to those agencies.
Working with Dr. John Bryan of the University of Maryland – Fire Protection Engineering Program, they developed one of the first “live in” programs for college students in the early 1970s, a program that continues to this day and in many areas. Through this concept and its graduates (both career and volunteer), Moltrup has impacted the American fire service that goes well beyond his original vision and efforts.
“I would not be where I am in the fire service today if not for the foundation Chief Moltrup built at the HVFD,” current HVFD Fire Chief Ryan Pidgeon said. “I joined the HVFD as a live-in member and the program has shaped who I am as a firefighter and a leader of the organization.”
Today, the HVFD alumni list reads like a “who’s who” in the American fire service, with many of its members and graduates now serving in positions that profoundly impact the fire protection community.
While studying electrical engineering at the University of Maryland, Doc slept at the firehouse every weekend to start his many years of passion and dedication to the HVFD.
Moltrup continues to serve the department today, nearly 60 years after joining, as a recently-elected member of the HVFD’s Board of Directors. He has also been part of many of the HVFD’s apparatus purchase committees in the years since retiring as Chief. Despite living in Florida full-time now, he makes regular trips to the station to spend time and share a meal with our members.
“Doc’s passion for the HVFD is unmatched,” HVFD President Kevin King said. “Few people in the history of this organization have made such a positive impact on its success, and that starts with Doc Moltrup’s tireless dedication to the HVFD for nearly 60 years.”
Moltrup is a life member of the International Association of Fire Chiefs. He received State of Maryland Governors Citations on at least four occasions, Certificate of Recognition from FEMA in 2005, Letters of Recognition from President Bush and Senator Paul Sarbanes upon his retirement as Chief in 2005, Chief’s Award from Brentwood VFD, and honorary membership certificates from Riverdale, Brentwood, New Franklin and Waynesboro VFD. He also received a certificate of recognition from the Maryland State Firemen’s Association in 2001 for his work as Chairman of the Maryland State Board of Review.
The mission of the National Fire Heritage Center (NFHC) is to preserve the perishable history of the fire services and fire protection disciplines. The Hall of Legends, Legacies, and Leaders (HLLL) helps fulfill that mission by providing recognition to the individuals who have made significant contributions and have distinguished themselves in the service of Fire and Emergency Services and Fire Protection disciplines and who have become known/recognized in the national and or international fire service arena.