Thursday, October 23, 2014

Chief Hammond awarded the Maine Fire Chiefs Association award - By Michelle Libby

Windham’s Fire Chief Charlie Hammond was awarded the Maine Fire Chiefs Association’s 2014 Fire Chief of the Year Award at a banquet this month. 

“To me it’s a recognition of a career’s worth of accomplishments. There are significant events I think back to that were great accomplishments,” said Hammond. “Most important are the citizens gaining something from it.” 

The important awards are “people who come up to me at Hannaford to say, ‘you came to my house.’ Those are the things that mean the most,” said Hammond. 

Hammond was nominated by Town Manager Tony Plante. “I felt that the chief should be recognized for his contributions to the fire-rescue service not just in Windham but in our region, and for his lifetime of public service,” he said. 

“I don’t consider myself a fire chief any different from one from a small community,” Hammond said. “He has the same challenges and adventures we have, but on a smaller scale. Those are his tests. With us, ours is a transitional state. We’re moving the ball forward. The town council allowed us to fund two people being in North Windham overnight.” This allows response times to be four minutes faster in some cases, providing medical care or fire suppression that much sooner. 

Chief Hammond has seen many changes since he started working in Windham as the fire chief, he said, especially the fire trucks, which are much more current now.

The award was presented in Augusta at the Fire Chief’s Annual meeting. In attendance were Stanlee Emerson from WFD, Plante, councilman Dave Nadeau, assistant town manager/HR director Phyllis Moss, library director Jen Alvino, Hammond’s son, Andy, who is a Portland firefighter and area chiefs. 
Hammond will retire mid-January. The search process is underway for a new chief. 

“They pay me to do a job and I hope I do it to their satisfaction,” said Hammond.

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