First responders across North Carolina are mourning the death of Atlantic Beach Fire Chief Adam Snyder.
Snyder was, in every sense, a helper.
“Adam was that person who if anybody needed anything they’d go to him,” said Raleigh Fire Captain Dena Ali.
Snyder responded to all kinds of emergencies and assisted people at the scariest times of their lives. He also supported his fellow first responders for whom the job can take a toll.
Friends said Snyder suffered from PTSD. Once he got the help he needed, he devoted himself to helping others as part of the North Carolina First Responder Peer Support Team, which helps first responders get mental health help from those who understand.
“He told me he just didn’t want people to have to go through what he did,” recalled friend Greg Ceisner, who worked alongside him with North Carolina Peer Support.
Chief State Fire Marshal Brian Taylor met Snyder when he was advocating for first responders dealing with traumatic situations.
“He knows first-hand the experience, and he thinks it’s very important that first responders get the right help that they need,” Taylor said. “I think that he has saved countless lives.”
Now fellow firefighters are leaning on each other as they grieve Snyder’s death after a skiing accident in Virginia. Ali, who is the director of North Carolina Peer Support, said coworkers are in shock.
“I don’t think anybody wants to believe it. Maybe it’s just a dream. Maybe it’s not true because he was just a huge impact,” she said.
Snyder’s work to help other first responders will continue. He was part of a video produced by the fire marshal’s office about the importance of peer support, and his peer support team is now supporting his family, just like he supported his first responder family.
Click here for Snyder’s GoFundMe.