The Canton community was reeling from another loss Wednesday as news spread of the death of Michael Smith, a chef, long-time resident and one-time volunteer firefighter and EMT.
"He was very talented in the kitchen and known by a lot of people," said close friend Juan Carlos Gonzalez. "He was a very good kid."
Wednesday morning numerous posts appeared on Smith's facebook page.
"RIP Mikey," wrote former Avon resident Bill Fitzsimmons. "I am lucky to have been able to share so many good times and adventures with you. You always did things your way, on your own terms, but it breaks my heart that you left the party so soon. I will never forget you amigo."
Smith, 28, worked as kitchen manager at the former Husk: New American Tacos on Main Street in Collinsville and also for Fitzsimmons making hot sauce. He currently worked at Max-A-Mia in Avon and was ready to start at another Canton restaurant, Gonzalez said.
According to his facebook page, Smith was a 2002 graduate of Oliver Wolcott Technical School. He was also an avid mechanic.
Smith grew up in Canton, friends said. A past member of the town of Canton Volunteer Fire and EMS Department, Smith went from a cadet to deputy chief of EMS and was getting ready to serve again, Gonzalez said.
"He served his town well," Gonzalez said. "He really cared about this community."
Chris Corso of Canton was once a neighbor to Smith at the Glenwood condo complex in Canton.
"He was just a genuine, nice kid — very soft spoken," Corso said.
Despite his quiet manner, numerous facebook posts talked about Smith's ability to make others laugh, offer advice and help a friend in need.