Beacon Hose’s annual Installation of Officers Dinner on Saturday, April 29, proved to be an emotional evening at our headquarters as we welcomed back Brian DeGeorge for his second stint as chief and expressed our gratitude to Jim Trzaski for his three years leading our department.
The other line officers include Asst. Chief Howie Leeper, Capt. Cal Brennan, 1st Lt. John Weid and 2nd Lt. Adam Daniels.
DeGeorge, who also served as chief from 2005-09, was assistant chief during Trzaski’s tenure from 2014-17. DeGeorge is now the first person in Beacon Hose’s 118-year history to serve two separate tenures as chief. He was pinned by his daughter, Emma, before he addressed the department.
“I was chief from 2005-09. I was young, I really wasn’t afraid,” DeGeorge said. “I wasn’t afraid if I was doing something right or wrong. And thank God, I really didn’t do too many things wrong — I don’t think. Today, it’s a little different. It’s a lot more involved. I was really nervous … but this place is awesome. It runs great.
“The junior corps, with Kevin (O’Connell), it’s its whole little group that I don’t have to worry about. It functions and it’s awesome,” DeGeorge continued. “The fire police group is running rampant. The officers I’ve got — I’m humbled, and it’s great to know that everyone is staying on board. It’s running really, really smooth, and that’s really what I need to continue.”
“I couldn’t have hand-picked a better group,” DeGeorge concluded. “Howie and I are on the same page. … Cal’s position at captain is perfect for him. The two lieutenant jobs, both of these guys are great. I’m really looking forward to this year.”
The three EMS officers — EMS Director Joe Chew and his assistants, Ken George and Peter Monti — are returning for another year. On the fire police side, longtime Capt. Bob Messner returns with Bill McCasland as his lieutenant. The four administrative officers are also unchanged with Secretary Jamie Linley, Asst. Secretary Mike McGee, Treasurer Tom Pratt and Asst. Treasurer Jodi DiZazzo.
The evening also included the awarding of the prestigious Bologna Sandwich Award to administrative assistant and EMT Gretchen Carlson, a number of congratulatory remarks by elected officials and local fire and EMS leaders, and Beacon Hose’s past chiefs and EMS directors.
The company also paid tribute to Trzaski, who did not seek a fourth year as chief after taking a full-time firefighting job in Middletown. Trzaski’s leadership has propelled Beacon Hose into the healthiest state and most robust roster in its 118-year history.
Past Chief Ted Smith presented Trzaski with a custom-made American flag made out of copper with the names of Beacon Hose’s members listed throughout. The department also showed a video slideshow of Trzaski throughout the years, and he was honored with multiple standing ovations.
Chief Trzaski has been a member of Beacon Hose since the mid-1980s, and he became chief in 2014. He declined to run for a fourth year as chief due to his new full-time job as a firefighter in Middletown, but he still undoubtedly goes down as one of the greatest chiefs in the 118-year history of Beacon Hose.
There was no task too big or too small for Chief Trzaski. He led by example — he had no problem sweeping the floor, making coffee or rolling away tables, jobs usually reserved for probationary rookies. That attitude became contagious among our membership, and the accomplishments of the department over the last three years come as a direct result of Chief Trzaski’s leadership. Our company has never been in a better position than it is now, and Chief Trzaski is the one most responsible for that status.
Chief Trzaski is among the most respected men not only in our community, but in all of Connecticut’s fire service. Each and every one of our members has become better because of his efforts, and Beacon Hose is forever grateful for the time, energy and sacrifices he made over the last three years. We know his advice and leadership will continue to be indispensable and highly sought after at Beacon Hose for many years to come.
Thank you, Chief Trzaski.
The Republican-American profiled DeGeorge and Trzaski in a weekend story, which can be read here.
Congratulations to the 2017-18 Beacon Hose officers!