Robert Allen Helfant

by | Sep 8, 2022 | Obituaries

Miami, Fla.—Robert Allen Helfant, of Key West, died in Miami on August 10, 2022 following a courageous battle with cancer.

He was the son of Jack and Shirley Lipsky Helfant, of blessed memory. He is survived by his wife, Robin Helfant. They have been together for 23 years and have a beautiful blended family with Robert’s daughter Holly Helfant and Robin’s daughters Jenny Stanton (Josh) and Lisa Peterson. Their grandson, Liam Stanton, was a joy in his grandpa’s life. Robert is also survived by his sisters Sheila Josephberg (Bob), Joan Irvine (Bobby Dolsey), and Rebecca Saunders. Nephews Tobin Irvine (Aditi), Jaime Irvine (Kristina), and niece Jennifer Josephberg, great-nieces Indira Irvine, and Effie Irvine and stepmother Dorcas Helfant Browning.

The Virginia Beach Fire Department mourns the passing of Master Firefighter Robert Helfant who joined the department in October 1984 and retired in May 2010. While with the VBFD, Robert was assigned to the HAZMAT team, Fire Instructor, and was a member of the FEMA VA-TF2 Urban Search and Rescue Team, which included the Oklahoma City bombing and the Pentagon on 9/11. In addition, Robert served honorably with the PACHVRS from 1977 in many roles for over two decades and obtained life membership in 1988. He served as Rescue Captain (chief), VBEMS Dive Team Commander, VBEMS Duty Chief (field supervisor), and was the former Technical Rescue Operations commander (TechObs1). Robert was awarded the VBEMS Medal of Honor in 1993.

A celebration of Robert’s life was held at the Harry E. Diesel Fire Training Center in Virginia Beach. Donations may be made in Robert’s memory to the John H. Burbage Cancer Center, 9919 Stephen Decatur Highway, Ocean City, Maryland 21842.