Arrangements being made to fly FEMA staff’s remains to Georgia


Arrangements are now being made to fly back the remains of a Federal Emergency Management Agency staff who died while on assignment in the CNMI.

Stephen DeBlasio Sr., federal coordinating officer of FEMA, confirmed that Thomas Stilwell died Saturday night due to “influenza-like symptoms.”

Stilwell’s remains will be flown back to his hometown in Georgia in the U.S., DeBlasio said, explaining that FEMA has “a procedure in place for these unfortunate events.”

Stilwell, 65, was FEMA’s network manager at the FEMA Joint Field Office, and one of his responsibilities was to make sure FEMA servers are up and running as relief efforts continue, DeBlasio said.

Stilwell is also a veteran FEMA representative, having worked with 100 disasters.

“He had a long career and he was working with FEMA during 9/11,” DeBlasio said.

DeBlasio said despite this “great loss,” FEMA does not expect any interruptions and “it will proceed forward.”

The FEMA official added that the doctors who handled Stilwell’s case assured DeBlasio that “there is no cause of concern for FEMA representatives.”

In a news briefing on Capital Hill yesterday, Gov. Eloy S. Inos expressed his condolences to Stilwell’s family and colleagues.

“We join his family and friends in mourning. We will do our best to bring comfort to his family and make sure that his remains will be brought home safely and properly,” Inos said.

The governor is also asking “every citizen of our Commonwealth to join me in keeping Mr. Stilwell’s family in our prayers as we offer our condolences and deepest sympathies.”

Inos also expressed his gratitude to FEMA as assistance for disaster survivors continue.

Joel D. Pinaroc | Reporter
Joel Pinaroc worked for a number of newspapers in the Philippines before joining the editorial team of Saipan Tribune. His published articles include stories on information technology, travel and lifestyle, and motoring, among others. Contact him at

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