PEPPERELL — “I can’t tell you how thankful and proud I am of the young guys. You’ve really come together and helped these past two days,” fire Chief Toby Tyler said during last weekend’s annual banquet. “Thank you for all the work you’ve put in.”
Tyler’s comments reflected the results of countless hours donated free of charge to train Pepperell’s 13 newest firefighters — and several from Groton and Dunstable — by Fitchburg Fire Captain Gregg Normandin, who was given special recognition by a grateful department.
“These (trainees) just didn’t fall off the truck,” Deputy Chief Peter Shattuck said. (Gregg) spent a whole bunch of time with a whole bunch of kids. This guy eats and sleeps firefighting.”
Normandin was presented a plaque and certificate of appreciation for his efforts to teach classes such as automobile extractions, SCBA (self-contained breathing apparatus), saving yourself methodology, the smoke house, knots and ventilation techniques.
“I went to town meeting to fight for two firefighters and lost,” Shattuck said. “You (Normandin) provided a lot of services we couldn’t have gotten that we wanted. I commend you.”
When the standing ovation quieted, Normandin said he had met Pepperell firefighters Kurtis Triehy, Matt Allen and EMT Administrator Joshua Robichaud during a 10-month training period in Groton. Training officer and Deputy Chief Jim Taplin approached him to ask for more help with Pepperell training.
“These are very motivated individuals and I commend them,” Normandin said. “Each year we see more than 100 firefighters killed or injured. My goal is to — through training — end that.”
During the banquet, all firefighters with less than one year in the department were presented small gifts from the Board of Fire Engineers.