Londonderry Firefighters Recognize Their Own

Londonderry Firefighters honored their own for standout service above and beyond the call of duty at the Department’s third annual recognition ceremony.

“This is an important opportunity to recognize our members. This is a humble group and they don’t like to bring attention to themselves,” said Lt. Bo Butler, president of the firefighters’ union, at the weekend ceremony. “It’s also special to see the retired firefighters in the audience. It reminds me of what we’re fighting for and everything you have done for us.”

Butler was nominated by his peers for the night’s top honor of Fire Officer of the Year.

“He has displayed true leadership and dedication to the Department, the union, his family and his community,” Fire Chief Darren O’Brien told attendees. “He worked during the holiday season with members of Local 3160 to coordinate Operation Warm, a charity that distributes winter coats to underprivileged children. Many of the children were unable to come to the firehouse and obtain their jackets, so Lt. Butler on his own time with his kids drove around to each child’s house delivering the jackets.”

O’Brien said Butler holds himself to a high standard, motivating those he works with to better themselves as well.

“As a company officer, Lt. Butler motivates his crew to train as a company, share meals as a company and conduct physical fitness as a company,” he said. “Lt. Butler draws from his military training and combat experience from the Iraq war to instill in his men how important it is ‘to maintain a state of readiness, to train like you fight, and fight like you train.’”

Butler accepted the award on behalf of all the men in the Department, saying he was “truly humbled” and honored.

In a celebration of milestones, Suzanne Roy and Douglas Cardwell were honored for 30 years of service to the Town.

The recognition ceremony also included a pinning ceremony, in which O’Brien surprised Vincent Curro with the announcement that he was promoted to Lieutenant of the Call Department.

“(Curro) has been with the Department for over 20 years now and he is a vital part of the Call Department. He goes above and beyond the call of duty to help in any way,” O’Brien said.

Also recognized during the pinning ceremony was Kevin Zins, who was promoted to battalion chief after Cardwell resigned; and Peter Devoe, who was promoted to lieutenant.

Following the pinning ceremony, Certificates of Merit for life-saving efforts were awarded to several firefighters for their heroic actions in the past year.

Firefighters and paramedics Curro, Michael Benoit, Donald Emerson, Michael England, Chris Gagnon, Bruce Kension and Paul MacCullum were awarded Certificates of Merit for their efforts as members of the Londonderry Call Firefighter Force.

O’Brien noted the Town’s call firefighters are available to assist the permanent members at major events, during call backs and during community relations events, despite having full-time jobs and obligations to their families.

Also recognized were Lt. Devoe, Michael Roberts and Bryon Young for their life-saving performance during a cardiac arrest call.

“While transporting a patient from the Manchester-Boston Regional Airport to Catholic Medical Center, the patient under their care went into cardiac arrest. With only two members in the back of the ambulance, this crew was able to initiate advanced life support measures and revive the patient,” O’Brien said. “By the time the crew left the hospital, the patient was well enough to speak and was being taken for cardiac surgery.”

A fundraising award was presented to Young, Michael Roberson, Kevin Barnett and Donald Waldron for their efforts to raise money for fellow firefighter Trisha Hamann, who was diagnosed with cancer.

And for their response to a uniquely challenging call for a woman in labor, Jeff Anderson, James Bilodeau, Shawn Carrier, Stephen Cotton, Scott Geraghty, Gene Jastrem, Christopher Lamy, Jeremy Mague and Michael McQuillen were also awarded Certificates of Merit.

Upon arrival, the firefighters found the woman and her husband in a car in the parking lot, O’Brien said. They determined childbirth was imminent and crews prepared for the delivery. A second ambulance was requested in the event any complications arose and three-and-a-half minutes after the engine company arrived, a healthy baby girl was delivered in the front seat of the couple’s car. Realizing both patients were stable, members even gave the father the opportunity to cut the umbilical cord.

Other individual commendations were awarded to Roberts for his work “behind the scenes,” maintaining the Union’s financial records and developing an entirely new process for promotion to Lieutenant; Devoe, for his work to organize the annual Senior Thanksgiving Dinner; and Mague, for his work to learn a vast amount of knowledge related to radio communications following the retirement of Cardwell.

Devoe also received an individual commendation for his response to a tragic car accident in November that took the life of a local high school student.

Devoe was off-duty when he heard the call that a young resident had lost control of his car and crashed, upside down, into Cohas Brook.

Without the benefit of technical rescue equipment, O’Brien said Devoe worked tirelessly and placed himself in danger to try to determine if there were any signs of life from the teen inside the vehicle and to seek any way possible to rescue him.

Finally, O’Brien recognized Brian Johnson, who was named Support Services Member of the Year for “consistently giving of himself for the benefit of the Department.”

Johnson helps the Chief analyze the vast amounts of data captured by the Department’s dispatching computer system and serves as the sole member of the Department’s fire prevention division, according to O’Brien.

“It’s no secret that building is booming in our town, and this has a direct impact on the department’s fire prevention division,” he said.

In addition to recognizing the efforts of all the Department’s firefighters and paramedics, Butler expressed gratitude to all the family members who support them and make sacrifices of their own while they are away working 72-hour shifts.

“You serve as our best friends, our confidants,” he said. “Without you guys, we couldn’t be here doing what we do.”

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