Gardner Fire Chief Richard Ares honored on the eve of his retirement as U.S. Rep. Lori Trahan officially announces $240K grant for his department -…

Posted: September 30, 2020 at 1:51 am


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GARDNER Fire Chief Richard Ares was honored by local and area elected officials as he prepares to call it a career after nearly half a decade on the job. Ares will retire on Wednesday, Sept. 30, after 47 years with the department.

Ares decades of service to the city were recognized by U.S. Rep. Lori Trahan, D-3rd, on Monday, Sept. 28. While at the department to officially announce a $240,000 federal grant her office helped secure for the purchase of new breathing equipment, Trahan said she used the opportunity to present Ares with a congressional proclamation to honor his exemplary service to the city.

Chief Ares has devoted his entire life to the city of Gardner, where he has always called home, obtained a degree in fire science from Mount Wachusett Community College, and began his honorable 47-year career on the Gardner Fire Department, Trahan read from the document. The residents of Gardner, as well as the commonwealth of Massachusetts, are grateful to Chief Ares for his extensive (career) as a firefighter, where he faced continual danger without hesitation for the betterment of his community.

Ares said stepping down for the job he has loved is a bittersweet moment.

Obviously, Im going to miss it, Ares said. The part Im going to miss most the guys were asking me this this morning is running to calls. I still love running to calls and doing the so-called street work, but its been a good ride, its been a good time, and its been what Ive always wanted to do, even when I was a little kid. I feel lucky that I got to do what I always wanted to do.

Ares started with the citys fire department as a substitute call firefighter in 1973, becoming a permanent member two years later. He climbed through the ranks of the department, serving as a fire lieutenant for 20 years, and then captain, and eventually fire chief. During his tenure he was selected as a fire investigator, providing skilled analysis in the wake of countless emergencies. He devoted nearly 12 years to teaching life-saving techniques and training fire recruits from across the state as an instructor at the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy.

The job has changed greatly over the years, Ares said, adding that he began keeping a journal of all of the calls he went on starting in 1983. As I go back through the old records, I see that we didnt do as many calls (in the past), but the majority of them were fires. Now, were actually more of an all-hazards department more than truly a fire department we handle all kinds of emergency incidents. People call us for everything.

Mayor Michael Nicholson said the city is grateful for Ares years of service to the community and its residents.

If you spend 47 years and five months in one community thats dedication in and of itself, Nicholson said. Our birthdays are a day after each other. I just turned 26 and he just turned 65, so for all of my life, hes been here in Gardner just making a difference. And I think thats incredible.

Nicholson noted that his relationship with Gardners longtime chief extended beyond the city limits.

When I was marching in the UMass marching band, he was the official photographer for the band, so weve been joking that now that hes leaving the fire department, his photography services will be better, Nicholson said. But I cant thank him enough for all hes done here. You cant look at the Gardner Fire Department and not see the impact that Richard has made here. So Im looking forward to seeing him relax but also to see how we can continue the work he started here as we move forward.

State Rep. Jon Zlotnik, D-Gardner, said Ares commitment to the city has meant a lot to its residents for nearly half a decade.

Gardner is a city, but I always say its a big town, and people like Chief Ares really dedicate their whole lives to the city and make things better, said Zlotnik. You look at a lot of the changes the chief has brought to the department to modernize it especially when it comes to equipment and training I think that has really been a focus for him, and those crucial decisions are always paramount whenever youre talking about firefighting services.

City Hall would be lit up in red over the next few days in honor of Ares years of service to the city, Nicholson said.

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Gardner Fire Chief Richard Ares honored on the eve of his retirement as U.S. Rep. Lori Trahan officially announces $240K grant for his department -...

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September 30th, 2020 at 1:51 am

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