Don (Donald) Irwin’s career with the Ontario Provincial Police started on April 8, 1958. He worked at Toronto and then Peterborough. He was promoted to Corporal in 1969 when he transferred to Kitchener.

While on vacation in 1974, Don and his wife befriended a Florida Highway Patrol officer and his wife. During another vacation in 1976, during a vacation with the Florida family, Don was given permission to ride along with the Highway Patrol officer during his shift. They came across an old car parked in a rest area on the interstate highway. On checking the vehicle, they discovered a couple of men, a woman and two young children and spotted a pistol which the Highway Patrol officer confiscated. After a record check and request for backup, both officers approached the vehicle. The Highway Patrol officer successfully handcuffed the driver. However, the woman and the other man both opened fired on the officers, killing them.

The rest area on the interstate highway was named in honour of Corporal Donald Irwin and the Florida Highway Patrol officer.

His wife and their three children survived Don Irwin.