Quincy Fire Chief Robbie Cassou, right, is used to acknowledging the work to others as he did earlier this year with facilities manage and mechanic Charlie Read. Now, it's Cassou who announced that he will be retiring next June. File photo by Julie Cassou

Quincy Fire honors members, names Firefighter of the Year

By Mike Taborski

[email protected]

The Quincy Volunteer Fire Department members selected Charlie Read as their 2021 Firefighter of the Year. He was also a paid employee for the fire department since 2007 and retired as its mechanic and facilities manager last December. Fire Chief Robbie Cassou took the opportunity to also recognize Read for that important role he played in maintaining and repairing the department’s assorted assets.

In making the presentation for the coveted Firefighter of the Year Award during the annual awards ceremony Saturday, Feb. 26, Commissioner Johnny Mansell noted that Read joined the department 15 years ago and had distinguished himself not only as an excellent firefighter but as a valuable instructor and mentor to others in the department.

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“His ability to operate the department’s apparatus and equipment is unparalleled. Every year he is one of the top 10 responders for emergency calls. Since joining the department he has been indispensable at every fire academy, weekend and after-hour classes,” Mansell said.

Fire Chief Robbie Cassou thanked Read (who is also a longtime volunteer for the Greenhorn Fire Department where he lives) for his invaluable years of service to the department. He said that with Read’s decades of experience as a heavy duty mechanic, there was no job too big or too small for him to take on.

“His mechanical experience and auto restoration allowed him to take any used vehicle we acquired and get it into serviceable condition and make it look new. Charlie has made numerous modifications to our existing vehicles and to our facilities to continuously increase their capabilities and reliability,” said Cassou.

He added, “Quincy has one of the best training facilities in the region, due, in no small part, to Charlie’s fabrication of the many training props including the propane-powered burn building. But beyond his abilities as an electrician, carpenter, plumber and master mechanic, he has been an inspiration and mentor to generations of firefighters always willing to share his knowledge and experience with others.”

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Support Team

Team leader Tracy Weaver presented the 2021 Support Team Member of the Year Award to a long-standing member of the Quincy Volunteer Fire Department, Tony DeMartini. He was honored for his dedication and commitment to the team’s ongoing training programs and his exceptional dependability in responding to emergency calls — just as he did while serving on the department for decades as a firefighter and captain, which also earned him the Firefighter of the Year award in 2018.

Other acknowledgements

Pins were presented to the top three individual responders in 2021. Leading the list and going out on an incredible 255 calls was Firefighter Kaylee Chandler. Firefighter/engineer Robert “Bubba” Pierson was next making it to 237 calls followed by Deputy Fire Chief Frank Carey with 218 calls.

Receiving the 50-plus Award, which is given to members who responded to 50 or more calls than he or she did the previous year, were firefighter Josh Mundy, who made it to 122 more calls than he did the prior year followed by Pierson with a 117 call increase and Carey making it to 68 more calls than he was able to do the year prior.

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 Length of Service

Firefighter and support team member Julie Cassou received a pin acknowledging her 30 years of service to the department. Fifteen-year pins were presented to firefighters Kevin Errecart and Emilio Garcia and Assistant Chief David Schmidt. A 10-year pin was given to support team member Kathy Errecart with 5-year pins presented to support team member Kevin Griffin and firefighter Parker Carey.

2022 Officers

The 2022 officers and captains were introduced and sworn in by Commissioner Mike Taborski: Support Team leader Tracy Weaver, Captains Tony Arcangeli, Dale Ready, Eric Vinyard, Matthew West; Assistant Chief David Schmid; Deputy Chief Frank Carey and Fire Chief Robbie Cassou.

 Newest firefighters and auxiliary team members

Cassou introduced Kaylee Chandler, Riley DuPont and Josh Mundy who have completed their extensive training and are now the department’s newest certified firefighters. He also introduced members of the fire department’s auxiliary team who are in training to become certified: Sophia Becwar-Berry, Jesse Lazzarino, Chopper Munoz, Dakota Ross, Becca Stewart and Amy Weaver.

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About the department

The department is staffed by volunteer firefighters and support team members and a paid staff of three: the chief, administrative secretary Karrie White and facilities manager and mechanic Chopper Munoz, who replaced Read.

Volunteer commissioners Mike Taborski, Andy Ryback and Johnny Mansell represent the Quincy Fire Protection District.

Quincy Fire, as with all the departments in the county and across the country, is always looking for volunteers to become firefighters or members of the support team. If you think you might be interested in learning how you can serve your community through the rewarding experience of being a member of your local fire department’s  ‘family’ you are encouraged to talk to your fire chief or any volunteer firefighter.