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Hero Down: Derry Borough Police Officer Joshua Smail Dies Unexpectedly

Derry Borough Police Officer Joshua Smail was also a Derry Volunteer fire Company firefighter.

Pittsburgh, PA – Derry Borough Police Officer Joshua Smail died at Allegheny General Hospital on April 5.

Officer Smail, 37, was also a member of the Derry Volunteer Fire Company (DVFC), according to his obituary.

The exact cause of his death was not released.

“With very heavy hearts, we are sad to announce the passing of one of our own. Josh Smail,” DVFC said in a Facebook post. “Not only was he a member of our department, he served as a Police Officer for our tiny borough.”

“Josh was kind, a great friend and made our community a better, safer place,” the agency said. “Please keep Josh and his family in your prayers. Rest In Peace.”

After graduating from the Westmoreland County Community College Criminal Justice Academy, Officer Smail went on to serve the communities of Nanty Glo Cambria County, Butler County, and Jackson Township, according to his obituary.

He later joined the Derry Borough Police Department, where he remained until his death.

“The outpouring of support for my little brother from his other brothers in blue and red has been overwhelming,” Officer Smail’s brother, Nathan, wrote in a Facebook post.

“Thank you to each member of the police and fire community that has reached out with a kind word, a comforting comment, a gesture of support, or came to the hospital and grieved alongside us. It means the world to our family,” Nathan said.

Officer Smail’s sister-in-law, Melanie, said that the fallen officer’s friends and community have rallied around them in the wake of their loss.

“I am asking for God’s hand on our shoulders while we laugh reminiscing the good memories; cry harder than we either have in a long time or for some, ever in their lives; and for a long while going through the motions of life until our healing begins,” she wrote in a Facebook post on Wednesday.

Officer Smail leaves behind three children, Colton, Makenzie, and Logan, according to his obituary.

His ex-wife, Kelly Burk, said that the day they adopted their children “was the happiest day of our lives,” and that the kids “loved their dad,” according to a Facebook post.

“They will always remember you because I will keep your memory alive for them,” Kelly wrote.

In addition to his children, Officer Smail leaves behind his parents, siblings, nephews, niece, extended family members, and his dog and “best buddy,” Rico, according to his obituary.

He was laid to rest on Wednesday.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Derry Borough Police Officer Joshua Smail, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.

Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.

Holly Matkin - April Wed, 2019


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