By Chris Mays cmays@reformer.com
WILMINGTON — Rain showers did not dampen the spirits of community members observing Memorial Day by way of parade and ceremony.

Nor did it keep them from honoring former assistant fire chief and lifelong resident Richard Covey, who suffered from a stroke last year, with two awards.

“In 1970, when then-chief Barker Willard started the junior fire program, [Covey] was in the first group to join,” said Brian Johnson, firefighter and former fire chief, when presenting Covey with the American Legion Citizenship Award. “This allowed high school students to become part of the fire department and become firefighters and assist at fires. After graduation, he stayed with the fire department working his way through as a firefighter, as apparatus driver, as a pump operator and eventually as an officer.”

Covey had become assistant chief in the mid 1980s, marking a 32-year commitment to the position. He helped navigate the aftermath of Tropical Storm Irene, and took on extra responsibilities in training and committee work throughout the years.

There’s not a truck at the department that Covey “wasn’t part of designing, making sure it got built correctly and receiving it,” Johnson said. About two years are spent on this task, starting from when the decision to replace a vehicle is made to the point where the new one is delivered. That was the proof Johnson used to convey Covey’s “tremendous commitment” to the department.

“Thank you,” Johnson said. “But the biggest thing he did, every day just about after work, he’d stop by the station. ‘What happened? What do I need to know? Just in case I’m in a position I need to make a decision, I want to be up to date.'”

Covey was a founding member of Deerfield Valley Rescue.

“You have to realize if you take an ambulance call in Wilmington, it’s not a 15-minute deal,” Johnson said. “You’re always looking at two hours plus.”

Covey also served on the town cemetery committee and was an active participant in the annual Town Meeting tradition. Johnson said Covey would ask the tough questions, voice a concern and make comments at Town Meeting.

Covey’s family joined him at Memorial Hall and the fire station after the parade. He’s a husband, father and grandfather.

“Thank you for all your support,” Covey said from a wheelchair as the crowd that filled Memorial Hall gave him a standing ovation.

“You’re welcome,” several firefighters standing next to him replied.

Covey made a similar expression of thanks at the fire station before Assistant Fire Chief Scott Moore presented him with the Lifetime Member award.

“Richard, for your outstanding dedication, we just want you to know you will always be a member of this department,” Moore said. “And the things that go on here, a lot of it’s because of you and we appreciate everything you’ve done.”

Fire Captain Bill Spirka had another “token of appreciation” for Covey.

“We voted that you should have your helmet,” Spirka said. “Thank you for everything you’ve done for me and the department.”


Congratulations to Dispatcher Erik Kazlouskas (Dispatcher 5) for 17 years of dedicated service to Fire Mutual Aid.


All NFA Direct Delivery courses are free of charge and students are required to submit a general admission application by the application deadline.

Course listing:
Course: Decision Making for Initial Company Operations
Location: Waterbury Fire Station
Course Date: October 7 & 8, 2017
Application Deadline: August 23, 2017

Course: Leadership in Supervision: Frameworks to Success
Location: St. Michael’s College
Course Date: January 6 & 7, 2018
Application Deadline: November 22, 2017

Course: Shaping the Future
Location: Vermont Fire Academy – Pittsford
Course Date: January 13 & 14, 2018
Application Deadline: November 29, 2017

Course: Leadership in Supervision: Creating Environments for Professional Growth
Location: Middlebury Fire Station
Course Date: January 27 & 28, 2018
Application Deadline: December 12, 2017

Course: Initial Fire Investigation for First Responders
Location: Brattleboro Fire Station
Course Date: January 27 & 28, 2018
Application Deadline: December 12, 2017

Course: Leadership in Supervision: Perspectives in Thinking
Location: Hartford Fire Station
Course Date: February 10 & 11, 2018
Application Deadline: December 27, 2017


On this date in history – 38 years ago today – Derry Cafe Fire in Bellows Falls. Dispatchers on duty were Ed Bergeron and Bob Mattson. Listen to the radio traffic:


Congratulations to Dispatcher Kassie Lunderville (Dispatcher 6) for 8 years of dedicated service to Fire Mutual Aid.


Congratulations to Dispatcher Anna Kercewich (Dispatcher 13) for 8 years of dedicated service to Fire Mutual Aid.

Vermont Fire Training Courses

Photovoltaic Safety for Firefighters Courses

Location: Shaftsbury Fire Station
Date: Monday, May 22, 2017
Application deadline: Monday, May 8, 2017
Time: 1830 – 2200
Location: West Dover Fire Station
Date: Wednesday, May 24, 2017
Application deadline: Wednesday, May 10, 2017
Time: 1830 – 2200
Register by submitting a General Admission Application to the Vermont Fire Academy by the deadline indicated above.
Solar Photovoltaic (PV) systems are becoming more common on homes and businesses across Vermont. Building mounted PV systems present special considerations for firefighters when handling emergencies within these buildings and around these systems. This course will provide the participants with information about what firefighters need to know to safely deal with fires in buildings equipped with PV systems and other emergencies that occur around ground mounted PV equipment.
Topics include an introduction to photovoltaics and electrical theory, recognition of PV systems and components, general PV system operation, common safety labeling, tactical considerations, disconnecting means, fire suppression and ventilation issues, and the hazards associated with fire service operations in the area of a PV system.
Emergency Vehicle Driver Training

Location: Springfield Fire Station
Classroom – May 31 & June 1 (1800 – 2200)
Practical – June 4 ( 0800 – until finished)
Student Minimum: 15
Student Maximum: 24
Application deadline: May 17, 2017
Please apply by submitting a general admission application to the Vermont Fire Academy by the Application deadline listed above.
This program was developed by VFIS, to teach the emergency vehicle operator proper driving technique, the mental as well as the physical aspects of the driving task. The program points out the long term impact of an accident involving an emergency vehicle on the operator, the emergency service organization and the community in which they serve. Includes both classroom and practical driving course. Minimum class size is 15 students, maximum class size is 24 students.
Prerequisites: Valid vehicle operator’s license.
Water Rescue Safety and Awareness

Location: Hartland Fire Station
When: Saturday, July 22
Time: 0800 – 1200
Application Deadline: Friday, July 7
Course Minimum: 15 students
Please apply by submitting a general admission application to the Vermont Fire Academy by the Application deadline listed above
The Water Rescue Safety and Awareness course is part of a series of courses designed to develop and enhance your skills as a rescuer. These programs are delivered both in the field and as residential offerings at the Vermont Fire Academy to allow you the opportunity to continue your education and training as a rescuer. This course is designed to introduce Firefighters and EMS personnel to water rescue at the awareness level of response. The course is an informational course with no hands on training component; it is not intended to provide instruction in water rescue skills. To be able to perform water rescues, personal should obtain hands on training such the Water Rescue Operations or Swift- Water Technician level courses. The overall objective of this course is to enhance the safety of the first responders at water rescue incidents by increasing their knowledge of the hazards of water rescue and the techniques and equipment needed to manage those hazards. At the completion of this course, the student shall have: an awareness of the risks in water incidents, the ability to recognize hazards at water incidents, knowledge of the VFA water rescue training program, the ability to identify local water rescue resources, the ability to identify basic shore based rescue techniques, the ability to identify water rescue equipment, and an awareness of the risks in water incidents.


Congratulations to Dispatcher Virginia Foote (Dispatcher 7) for 8 years of dedicated service to Fire Mutual Aid.