PEPPERELL — No matter where Terrence Dineen has gone during his 21 years, he has always ended up where he is now, back in Pepperell.
A graduate of North Middlesex Regional, Dineen says he “bleeds red, white and blue.” Dineen decided not to go to college and said he wanted to learn from real-world experience.
After some traveling, he is now apprenticing at the Ten Broeck Insurance Group and has joined the town’s Recreation Commission. He says he has learned quite a lot right in the town he has always lived in, but he did do some rambling.
His first stop immediately after graduating was Vietnam. Terrence’s father, Paul, works at a Honda dealership, and one of his co-workers, a Vietnamese man, offered his relatives as a host family. There, he decided to try his hand teaching English.
His eager exploration, however, turned to “culture shock,” he said.
Between the Spartan living conditions, drastically different day-to-day life and streets “filled with motorcycles,” he was heading home for Christmas that year. Dineen said he had only traveled to Canada before then.
“I was looking for an adventure and I got that, it was something to experience.
He decided to move to Burlington, Vt., where he found a community he enjoyed. Terrence sold vacuums and said he enjoyed the atmosphere and people of the town, and it stayed with him when he moved back to High Street once again.
Eventually he was working so close to home, he could walk, or even take his snowmobile in the winter.
“Working at Dolce’s (Wood Fired Italian Grill Restaurant) was great; the customers and atmosphere made it not very hard to work hard,” Dineen said.
After being hired the day they opened, he worked his way up to manager and spent 10 months in that position.
“That was the most I’ve had so far, I want to open a restaurant and manage it myself,” he said.
Soon thereafter, Derek Ten Broeck approached Dineen with an opportunity. His insurance group had some business that needed to be tapped into and he offered Terrence a position.
“We were looking to expand, and I saw a lot of natural abilities in Terrence,” Ten Broeck said.
Through Pen Mutual Insurance, a provider that Ten Broeck handles, Dineen began the process of becoming an independent broker. During the testing process, he tried and failed four times before passing the exam. He is now an independent broker, working for Pen out of Derek’s office.
“Insurance can change people’s lives and make them easier,” he said. “It’s giving people a safety blanket to hold onto and have, and I want to offer those services to the town of Pepperell.”
Dineen added that he learned a bit about the industry during a tragic accident his sister, Olivia, was involved in last January.
“One would want people to have money to protect others in case of an accident,” he said.
But it also showed him something about his town. During the summer Community Rises-Olivia Walks fundraiser at the Pepperell Family Pharmacy, he said he saw his family’s morale change for the better.
“And five weeks later, she was walking. Pepperell really helps you out,” he said.
Last month, Dineen decided to give back to Pepperell by seeking appointment to the Recreation Commission. At North Middlesex, he was an ice hockey and lacrosse captain and also played golf. He says he and his friends frequent the Community Center basketball courts and ice rinks.
“I want to bring a younger set of eyes and a different attitude and perspective,” he said. “It’s important to be involved in the place you are; wherever I go, I want to make it better.”
Ten Broeck, who has served on the commission for years, said he has confidence in Dineen’s abilities there, too.
“Having younger people on the commission will be good, and if Terrence is passionate about something, he’ll take it to the next level,” he said.
Dineen says he is jumping into insurance with both feet for the experience, but also to make some money.
“The dream in my life has changed each year; the restaurant business has been the most fun I’ve had so far, and I want to open a restaurant,” Dineen said.
And he wants to try to do it in Burlington. He described it as a “late-night place that would serve greasy food.”
“If it fails, I want to fail trying,” he said.