A firefighter to the end
Longtime Exeter firefighter loses battle with cancer
The time of day when the call came in didn't matter. Neither did his age.
He was a firefighter to the end.
"He was a real fireman's fireman. He understood what it was to be a fireman," Exeter Fire Chief Brian Comeau said of his longtime friend and fellow firefighter who dedicated his life to helping others faced with personal tragedies.
He was 77.
Raymond, who lived his entire life in Exeter, was a firefighter in town for 50 years and spent the last five years as a firefighter in Brentwood. He remained active until this past summer when he underwent surgery.
At the time of the award, Raymond was 74 and still responding to fires in Brentwood. He wasn't able to haul heavy hoses around at that age, so his job was to keep track of firefighters at a scene to make sure they were all accounted for.
Raymond began his career as a call firefighter at the Exeter Fire Department in 1958. He became a full-time Exeter firefighter five years later.
Just a few days after retiring, Raymond accepted a job as a call firefighter and safety officer in Brentwood, where his son, Gary, is the deputy chief.
While he had retired from Exeter, he was still a part of the department.
Even in his older days, the veteran firefighter nicknamed "Hawkeye" still managed to get himself out of bed at all hours to respond to a call. He could even beat the younger firefighters to the scene.
"He was the kind of guy who was always the first at the scene," Comeau added.
"Out of all the people I've met, he was genuinely a nice man and he just enjoyed the fire service. He was always there. Even as he grew older and couldn't do the hard stuff, he still wanted to contribute so he tailored his duties to his abilities," Berkenbush said.
|NH Angle >> Human Interest|
Joe McQuaid's Publisher's Notes: President's offspring always off limits? My grandfather would beg to differ