Exchange Clubs from across Connecticut gathered at the Aqua Turf last week to honor firefighters and fire departments across the state during the 22nd annual Salute to Connecticut’s Bravest. Capt. David Massey was named Plainville’s Firefighter of the Year.
“This is a great opportunity to recognize and celebrate what these brave men and women do every day,” said Russ Finney, current national president of Exchange Clubs of America. “Firefighters are so important. They put their lives on the line every single day. They’re the first ones to go in when a lot of other people are going out. It’s just an inspiration to me to be able to participate in this this evening.”
Massey joined the Plainville Fire Company as a probationary member in the fall of 1999, and he became a regular member in 2001. He explained that he was inspired to become a firefighter by a former co-worker, and that he’s loved being a firefighter ever since.
“It’s definitely an honor to represent in front of the company. We’ve got a lot of members and to be singled out as firefighter of the year it means a lot,” said Massey.
The company’s chief, Kevin Toner, explained that when asked by the Bristol Exchange Club to nominate a member for this honor, he was hesitant to nominate any one person because “everything we do is together, it’s a team effort, it’s never an individual.”
“I chose the captain of the company because he’s the one in charge of all the man power,” said Toner. “He’s a good guy, he’s a great firefighter, and he’s very deserving of the award.”
Throughout the country, 18,000 citizens are members of an Exchange Club. The New England district holds 10% of all members, with 1,800 members, explained National Exchange Club’s New England regional vice president, Joe Dudek.
Dudek said that the event is held every October to coincide with fire prevention month, and that Exchange Clubs use the time to help raise visibility for communities across the state to help support fire departments.
Captain Massey, nominated by the Exchange Club of Bristol, was honored alongside firefighter Christopher Corso (Cheshire), firefighter Dickon Brown (Danbury), engineer Zach Britton (Stony Hill), the members of the Bethel Fire Department, firefighter and paramedic Ryan Reardon (East Hartford), Firefighter Frank Duncan (Farmington), Lt. Christopher Ferrall (Glastonbury), Lt. Justin Cappetta (North Madison), Lt. Hank Rowell (Madison), firefighter Daniel Canevari (Middletown), firefighter Theodore Hawks III (Naugatuck), Lt. Chad Boudreau and firefighters Ryan Hart, Edgar Lopez, and Brian Filush (Norwalk), Captain Todd Steward (Old Saybrook), Captain Craig Dibble and firefighter Edward Marchitto (Ridgefield), Lt. Ted Stanek and Captain Jazques Roy (Stamford), firefighter William Kennedy (Waterbury), Lt. Stephen Strauch (Windsor), and firefighter Melvin Edmond (Wolcott).
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Taylor Murchison-Gallagher, email her at TMurchison@PlainvilleObserver.com.