Ted Monette, FEMA’s former director of the Office of Federal Coordinating Officer Operations, died in the spread of coronavirus at a veterans home.
Monette, 74, had been living at the Holyoke Soldiers Home in Massachusetts since January, according to MassLive, and was transferred to a hospital after another resident in close proximity developed COVID-19 symptoms. Monette died within a week of developing symptoms.
The New York Times reported on mismanagement of coronavirus cases and a spate of veterans’ deaths at the home that resulted in the superintendent being placed on administrative leave and the National Guard being brought in to test patients and staff.
Monette, a graduate of the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, joined FEMA after serving 30 years in the Army.
He was the senior federal official in charge of response and recovery operations after the 9/11 attack in New York City, and guided the response and relief effort after hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
A 2005 FEMA article describes how, after several months on the ground with hurricane recovery, Monette was returning to Holyoke, eager to see his then 3-year-old grandson.
“In a disaster of this magnitude, you have to take your successes in little chunks to see accomplishment,” Monette said. “…Our role is to bring a sense of calm and order to those whose world was thrown into chaos. Our mission is to create a sense of hope, and to make daily progress toward our goal. We can help people make their recovery plans a reality.”
Monette also spoke of his admiration for the women and men of FEMA. “These folks left everything they know and love to come down here and help those in need, and they never strayed from their mission,” he said.