HARVARD — One after another, residents stood at the microphone to speak during the public comment period of the selectmen’s meeting Tuesday night.
Colleagues, friends, firefighters, cemetery commissioners, each one had something frank and unabashedly admiring to say about selectman and retired former Fire Chief Peter Warren, who is stepping down when his term ends in a couple of weeks.
Cemetery Commissioner Bruce Dolimount spoke first.
“I tried to visualize where this man came from,” he began. Then, he found the right words in an old song from a summer camp he and Warren both attended as kids. Those boys were “best in the land, loyal and true,” he said. And the same can be said of Warren. “He tells it the way it is,” Dolimount said.
Lacing his message with snatches of verse, he said Warren fights “with all his might for what he thinks is right,” like the campers lionized in song.
The closing verse summed it up. “Three cheers for Peter, his spirit and his might!”
School Committee member Keith Cheveralls said he didn’t come to speak and had no speech prepared, but he felt moved to share the moment. “It has been my great pleasure to come closer to you,” he said to Warren, calling him a “dedicated volunteer.”
“Everything you do is with honesty, integrity and honor,” Cheveralls continued. “You exemplify everything a volunteer official should be.”
Cemetery Commissioner Jack Spero said Warren was the most “dedicated liaison” the group has had.
DEC Commissioner Jim DeZutter, like Warren, has served on more than one town board over the years. “I was impressed” with Warren’s performance as a firefighter, department chief and selectman, he said. “The town is better and safer” thanks to him.
Firefighter Tony Sharp lauded the “amazing amount of energy” Warren gave the department, and he was particularly pleased now that he’s pledged to come back.
Selectman Ron Ricci added a touch of humor, suggesting that Warren was about to segue from selectman to “citizen emeritus.”
Selectman Tim Clark called it a promotion.
The selectmen plan to say their public goodbyes at the May 1 meeting, Warren’s last on the board.