Quiet Heroes of New Canaan: Mike Socci


Robin Rockafellow has lived in New Canaan since 1964, and though she’s had positive interactions with the Fire Department in the past, last Tuesday was the first time she recalls meeting Capt. Mike Socci.

An early riser (4:30 a.m.), Rockafellow heard her garbage truck around 5:30 a.m. and then heard a “boom” as if something had struck the house, though gently.

“So I came downstairs, and the security lights were on over the garage, and I saw the truck pulling out, and I didn’t see anything,” Rockafellow told NewCanaanite.com. “So I went back to read and around 10 o’clock I went out to do some errands and I noticed this wire lying in my driveway. And I had done morning prayer on Zoom on my iPad, so I knew the Internet was working and my lights and everything were working. But I didn’t know what it was, and it sort of scared me.”

2015 photo of (L-R): Firefighter Kevin Vetti, Weed and Duryea employee Barry Coleman, firefighter Jim Pickering, firefighter Brian Doane, firefighter Michael Jackson, firefighter Patrick Moley and Capt. Michael Socci.

So she drove to the firehouse to report the situation, and within one hour, Socci and Firefighter Pat Moley arrived at the house.

Socci figured out that the landline had been damaged and asked Rockafellow who her provider was.

“And I said, Frontier,” she recalled. “And he said, Oh, and rolled his eyes heavenward, like it’s hard to get ahold of them. He called me back about 45 minutes later and said, ‘I’ve tried every way to get a person to answer the phone, but I’m only getting a computer and you have an appointment tomorrow, meaning yesterday, between 8 and 5 and somebody has to be home.’ And I thought oh great, I have a million things I have to do. But he said, ‘But I’m not finished. I have a few people that I can call who might have a way into Frontier, to a person.’ ” 

One hour later, Socci phoned her back to say he’d just spoken to a supervisor “and a technician will be at your house within the hour.”

The technician arrived at 2:10 p.m., allowing Rockafellow to go to her physical therapy, and fixed the problem with no charge.

Firefighter Jim Pickering and Capt. Michael Socci on Memorial Day 2019.

“And so I sent a text to Mike and I said, ‘It seems to be taken care of,’ ” she said. “The technician called me on my landline before he left, and so we knew it was working. And then Tuesday night Mike called. He said, ‘I just wanted to make sure it was still working, that it was working OK.’ And I thought that’s beyond the beyond. Because he could have just said, ‘Gosh, I’m sorry I tried to get somebody, but there will be somebody there tomorrow between 8 and 5.’ And he knew that I pretty much count on my landline. And he knew because I told him. I don’t use my cellphone very much.”

Rockafellow bake and bring homemade cookies to the department, leaving a ‘Thank You’ note for Socci. 

“In my note to him, I said there’s so much darkness around us, there’s so much crisis, and he was like a light in my day,” she said.

Asked if she’d ever interacted with Socci before, Rockafellow said, “I knew his name, but I don’t know him.”

“He may have been someone who over the years—I’ve lived here since 1964, and ever since we had smoke alarms and things like that in the house, when the fire department started offering to come and change the batteries, I’ve done it for several years. My husband’s been gone for about 10 years, and I know they came when he was home sick. But I don’t know that he’s been here before. I know that his family has been here forever, and I know an aunt of his that used to work at Town Hall. I knew her.”

Of nominating Socci for the “Quiet Heroes” series, Rockafellow said, “I just thought it was something that people don’t hear about.”

“It was just one of those incidents that I felt should go further than my cookies,” she said.

[Editor’s Note: This is a new installment of our periodic “Quiet Heroes” series. We’re accepting nominations for it, see guidelines here and ignore the COVID reference.]

5 thoughts on “Quiet Heroes of New Canaan: Mike Socci

  1. He is the example of someone who goes above and beyond. He loves this town and the people that reside. I am not the least bit surprised of his actions. He is truly one of a kind. I have had the honor of knowing Mike for 60 years. He truly is a gem. I am also very proud to call him my cousin.

  2. Having local firefighters in town like we do is such a blessing. I was so glad to see Mike Socci recognized for his help and attention to this resident, going above and beyond what a firefighter would do, especially what a Captain would do. Mike is one of the most generous and helpful people I know – someone who truly cares about his community in many ways. His wife Neen is the same – they are two people who you can count on, who love their town and neighbors, and who are caring and helpful.

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