At a farewell ceremony to mark the retirement of Wellesley Fire Chief Rick DeLorie, over 200 friends, family members, fire chiefs from all over the state, and town employees gathered to say goodbye at the Wellesley Fire Department headquarters on Route 9. DeLorie spent 30 years with the WFD, 14 of those as the top dog leading the town’s 50+ firefighters, administrators, and the special services team.
During a light-hearted ceremony, DeLorie was roasted, applauded, and thanked as he showed up in a professional capacity for Wellesley one last time, looking natty in his dress blues. All DeLorie could do was chuckle warmly when he was tweaked by speakers eager to sing his praises (with a dash of pester).
I’ll spell it out for you
Superintendent David Lussier noted DeLorie’s faithful participation in the yearly town spelling bee, as well as his lackluster performance. “We all had to tell him there was only one ‘r’ in fire,” Lussier said before bragging that “we couldn’t be prouder of our graduate of Wellesley public schools.”
Police Chief Jack Pilecki, never one to miss a chance to give Rick the business, this time delivered accolades. Pilecki’s so-long basically boiled down to one big lug punching another big lug in the arm so neither one would burst out in tears.
DeLorie climbed many ladders during his career. Some led into burning buildings. Some led to a bachelors and a masters degree from Framingham State. But the one that led to the job as chief was the ladder that most allowed DeLorie to bring others up with him. Whether he was somehow procuring rare personal protective equipment for his department and residents during COVID, serving in industry positions, such as chair of the Metropolitan Fire Chiefs Association, president of the Fire Chiefs Association of Massachusetts, and metro chief of the Massachusetts Fire Training Council, or working with the Special Olympics, the needs of others always came first.
Some parting gifts
Before the program was done, DeLorie had been given certificates galore (from the Select Board and from Representative Alice Peisch’s office); received swag bags of doodads; and was sent off with wardrobe additions of sweatshirts and t-shirts to wear in retirement.
At the end of the program, DeLorie delivered remarks. Now that he’s leaving, I can admit it. Rick, I’ve never been able to understand a word you said when you spoke into a microphone. So no direct quotes from Rick in this story. But I’m willing to wager he thanked one and all profusely.
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