Greenfield FD promotes nine
Greenfield Fire Chief Robert Strahan, right, swears in Peter McIver, Keith Gamage and Kurt Seaman, from left, as provisional lieutenants Wednesday. Recorder/Chris Curtis
The nine Greenfield firefighters promoted in a ceremony Wednesday.
Back row, from left: Lt. Jesse Phelps, Lt. Kurt Seaman, Call Force Capt. James Bitzer and firefither John Martin. Front row, from left: Lt. Keith Gamage, firefighter Allen Baker, firefighter Alex Cooley, firefighter Tony Thurston and Lt. Peter McIver. Recorder/Chris Curtis
GREENFIELD — Before what became a busy afternoon, on- and off-duty firefighters, their family, friends and colleagues gathered Wednesday to celebrate the advancement of nine members, including four promotions to the newly created rank of lieutenant.
Alex Cooley, John Martin, Allen Baker and Tony Thurston joined the roster of permanent firefighters. Keith Gamage, Kurt Seaman and Peter McGiver took their oaths as provisional lieutenants and Jesse Phelps as a permanent lieutenant, while James Bitzer accepted his promotion to captain of the call force.
Bitzer replaces retiring Capt. Charles Seaman, who was presented with a plaque in honor of his 32 years of service.
Provisional Fire Chief Robert Strahan, Mayor William Martin and Public Safety Commission Chairman Gary Longley congratulated the nine and former members in attendance, including former Chief Michael Winn and retiring call force Capt. Charles “Chuck” Seaman.
Strahan welcomed the newer members to the extended firefighter family and exhorted all nine to keep themselves safe and strive to the highest level of professionalism.
“Everybody goes home at the end of their shift,” Strahan said. “There is no greater responsibility for you officers than taking people into harm’s way. It is a true honor.”
“Being professional is about courtesy, dedication and integrity, with the big one being integrity. Doing what’s right when nobody’s looking, that is integrity. When people are at their worst time in life, you are at your best. We hold ourselves to a higher standard because that’s what you do if you’re with us.”
Strahan said the new rank of lieutenant represented years of negotiations with the mayor and the union, begun by former Chief Michael Winn, who was presented with a token of appreciation from the department.