Scores of active and retired career and volunteer personnel, as well as many friends, family members and town officials gathered last Saturday morning at Hamden's Memorial Town Hall to pay their respects to former Hamden Fire Chief John Tramontano, who passed away at his New Hampshire home during the first week of September.
Chief David Berardesca praised Tramontano's many ground breaking achievements which included, among other things, the Mountain Rescue Team, helping to establish Central Communications, the introduction of mandatory fire certification training for all personnel and increasing the complement of department company officers by two-thirds. Mayor Curt Leng spoke of the Chief's 34-year career and also paid tribute to his many department contributions.
Retired Hamden firefighter, Rev. Ralph Purificato, of North Haven's Liberty Community Church, conducted a brief prayer service in which he praised Tramontano's service to his department, his firefighters, and the Town of Hamden. Capt. Dave Johnson (Ret.) and Batt. Chief Bill Coppola (Ret.) offered their remembrances of Tramontano's career milestones and his passion for mountain climbing.
Firefighter David Beaton and Capt. Brion Tierney standing Honor Guard prior to Saturday's Department Memorial Service
Chief Tramontano's daughter, Tara Tramontano Madison, paid an emotional tribute to her dad. She spoke of the special relationship she shared with him, particularly in the many outdoor activities the Chief enjoyed. She praised and thanked Chief Berardesca and the members of the Hamden Fire Department for conducting the Memorial Service. Tara extended a special thank-you to Deputy Chief Gary Merwede, who did an outstanding job of planning, organizing and coordinating the entire event.
The one-hour service concluded with one of the department's pipers, Capt. Ed Evers, playing "Amazing Grace," while an Honor Guard of active and retired department members solemnly escorted Asst. Supt. Harold Mangler (Ret.) carrying the Chief's ashes to a place of honor on Squad 1 in front of Town Hall.
With the assistance of the Hamden Police Department, Squad 1's Lieut. Jeff Naples and his crew carried out a symbolic ceremonial response, returning Chief John Richard Tramontano back home to Station 4.
Saluting the Chief for his last ride home
Capt. Ed Evers pipes "Amazing Grace"
Returning Home - Squad 1 arrives at Station 4
Following the Memorial Service, HFRA President Robert Mordecai presented Chief Tramontano's daughter Tara with a memorial plaque honoring her father's service in the Hamden Fire Department. Memorial plaques are presented annually to the families of HFRA members who have passed during the year. (CLICK to enlarge)
Ten of the approximately thirty Hamden Fire Deprtment retirees who attended Chief Tramontano's service are pictured here at a reception held at Eli's following the service. Seated (L-R): Bill Coppola, Bob Mordecai, Bob Viglione, Ray Dobbs, Bob Kenney, Kerry Castracane and Harold Mangler. Standing: Bill Fitzmaurice, Dave Johnson and Chick Manware. (CLICK to enlarge)
Memorial Service photos by Dan Johnson, Tara Madison, D/C Gary Merwede, Lt. Bob Mordecai (Ret.) and Lt. Daryl Osiecki.
Assistant Town Clerk Joann Leone administers the oath
D/C Merwede, Capt. Kobbe and Chief Berardesca
Family and friends, including active and retired department members, gathered Thursday morning in the rotunda of Memorial Town Hall to witness Paul Kobbe sworn in as the department's newest captain. Captain Kobbe, a fifteen year department veteran, fills the vacancy created on Platoon 4 when Ron Desroches was promoted to battalion chief a couple of weeks ago. He will be assigned to Station 2.
The members of the HFRA congratulate Captain Kobbe and wish him all the very best in his new assignment.
The department's regular Thursday Communications Bulletin for September 26, 1985 announced, "there is the possibility that we may experience severe weather from the hurricane . . ." She wasn't even mentioned by name, but Gloria nailed us. Over $90 million in damages were estimated statewide and two storm-related fatalities were reported locally. More in next week's update. (Note also the new staffing of the truck company at Station 3.)