By Alex Lippa
---- — ATKINSON — David Poirier, the town’s postmaster, died Friday while serving with the National Guard in Qatar. He was 52.
Poirier, who was listed as being from North Smithfield, R.I., had been on administrative leave from the U.S. Postal Service while serving with the New Hampshire National Guard.
National Guard spokesman Lt. Aaron McCarthy said Poirier died from an apparent heart attack.
Poirier was appointed postmaster in Atkinson in October 2012. Prior to that, he had worked for the Postal Service elsewhere for 13 years.
With the National Guard, Poirier was assigned to the 157th Operations Support Squadron, which is based out of Pease Air National Guard Base in Portsmouth. He had just arrived in Qatar, according to his Facebook page.
“I finally made it to my new job,” he wrote on Thursday. “Now the fun begins.”
Poirier was deployed six times in the last five years to Guam, Iraq, Afghanistan and El Salvador. McCarthy said Poirier’s deployments lasted between 30 and 120 days.
He had served for 22 years in the military.
McCarthy said Poirier worked in the air crew flight equipment section.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends,” he said Monday. “He touched a lot of people and he’ll be greatly missed around here.”
Many people paid their respects to Poirier through his wife Kim’s Facebook page.
“Words can provide little comfort but know you are all in my prayers,” Louise Boulanger wrote. “He’s catching up with friends and family who predeceased him all the while looking down watching over you.”
Cynthia Gallagher also wrote on the page.
“ I, as well as all that knew Dave, am in disbelief and am deeply heartbroken for you,” she wrote.
A spokesman for U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., said the senator called Kim Poirier yesterday morning to express her condolences.
McCarthy said Poirier’s body would be flown to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware. He will then be honorably transferred to New Hampshire, where services will be held at the end of the week.