A firefighter’s sendoff

Deputy Chief Howe retires after 36 years

Photo courtesy of the Abington Fire Department

(Editor’s note: We were going to write a few sentences marking the retirement of Deputy Chief Howe, but frankly what Chief John Nuttall provided was way better than anything we would have come up with.)

The official information for Deputy Howe includes his initial start date of 1984 as a Firefighter, promotion to Fire Captain in 2006, and promotion to Deputy Fire Chief in 2015, where he has headed the Department’s Fire Prevention division.  

Deputy Howe served many department and organizational roles throughout his career, including the defibrillator coordinator in the days prior to advanced life support, infant car seat coordinator, our first department emergency medical technician to advance to paramedic, Firefighter Memorial Sunday chairman, Local 2080 Scholarship Chairman,and a few that I am sure I am forgetting, as he was self-sufficient and ran things well behind the scenes.

The unofficial information for Ron is much more colorful and fun for all of those who worked with and really know him.

Ron was an excellent firefighter, who grew up in a firefighting family; it was literally in his blood. On his last day of work, I had the opportunity to again have a great conversation with him about many of the fires he had worked at, and past members we had the fortune to work with.

He recalled his first fire, the Toll House structure fire in Whitman, as well as the crews he fought this large fire with at the scene, like it was yesterday. Several large fires in the City of Brockton, such as the Spark Street, Ames Street, and Montello Street fires, which were all quite large incidents. Numerous fires here in Abington, including one of my first fires where I remembered him effortlessly assisting me with a task ordered by then Deputy Fire Chief Leo Donovan, before he headed back to his assignment in the building which had heavy fire from the second floor. Difficult motor vehicle accidents and medical emergencies, strange calls no one would ever believe if we told them about, and the many, many brush fires.

Ron was always calm and cool at any incident, and to be honest he is one of the very few of us who I ever recall never allowing stress, whether at an emergency or simply dealing with others, to get the best of him or get angry.  In a profession full of strong personalities, this is a rare quality.  This also made him a great deputy fire chief and fire prevention officer, where his calming demeanor helped to settle many situations.

There are countless stories that Ron shared about emergency incidents, non-emergency incidents, interactions with other members of the department past and present, as well as off-duty get togethers that will remain within the confines of those who know him. 

I can say that it has been a pleasure working with and knowing Ron for over 30 years, and he will surely be missed in the department.

Speaking for the entire department, I wish Ron and Pam a long, happy, and healthy retirement, and look forward to seeing him sitting at the Retiree Table at future Firefighter Memorial Sunday breakfasts for years to come.

Well done Ron!

-John M. Nuttall, Chief of Department

Members of the Abington Fire Department pose, while maintaining social distancing guidelines, in salute to retiring Deputy Chief Ron Howe.
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