Watch Hill Fire Department
Watch Hill Fire Department
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Jul 13, 2024

WHFD Holds Special Annual Celebration of Service
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By Assistant Chief Christopher Koretski
December 22, 2023

On Tuesday December 19 the Watch Hill Fire Department held our annual Celebration of Service event. During the event our new Lieutenant Rees Harold was sworn in and pinned. We also recognized 186 years of service among 7 of our volunteer firefighters. Finally, we celebrated 65 year member Charlie Holdredge and named Squad 100 in his honor.

Lieutenant Rees S. Harold was named as a Lieutenant following the annual meeting of the Fire Company in July. He has served as a member of the Watch Hill Fire Department in an official capacity since he joined as a Junior Member in 2015. However, Rees was a familiar face around the Fire Station when he would join his father, Chief Scott Harold around the Station for training, events, and even emergencies from time to time. Rees has continued the family legacy of service in the Department becoming an active, full member in 2017. Since then, he has become certified by the Rhode Island Fire Academy as a Firefighter Level 1 and 2 along with a Hazmat Operations certification. He works per diem as a Westerly Emergency 9-1-1 Dispatcher and was in service in Grand Teton National Park for 2 seasons as a Wildland Fire Dispatcher for the National Parks Service. He works currently for the US Forest Service as a Grant Management Specialist. Lieutenant Harold had his badge pinned on by his Father, our 11th Chief of Department, Chief Scott Harold.

The Department celebrated the contributions of 7 firefighters who have dedicated much to WHFD. Each was presented a pin to wear on their uniform recognizing their years of service.

Firefighter Charlie Holdredge, 65 Years
Past Chief Scott Harold, 30 Years
Past Lieutenant Brian Holdredge, 30 Years
Fire Police Officer Brian Capizzano, 30 Years
Lieutenant Dennis Evans, 20 Years
Firefighter Chris Wood, 5 Years
Firefighter Annie Wood, 5 Years
Firefighter Julie Wood, 5 Years

The highlight of the evening was honoring Charlie Holdredge a 65+ year member of the Department. Looking back into the History of our Department, a long standing tradition has been to name our frontline yellow fire apparatus. Over the years trucks like “The Stinger” “The Shepard” “Pegasus” and “Chief Ninigret” have made their marks on our Department. Over the last few years as the Department has adapted to the growing number of specialized responses, we have relied on our Squad truck to handle a number of those incidents. From Motor Vehicle Accidents, Ice Rescues, Water Rescues, Boating Emergencies, Searches, Hazardous Materials Responses, and the ever growing number of medical emergencies that occur within the District, the Squad has become a front line piece of apparatus. That being said, earlier this year, the Members of the Department felt that it too should bear a name like our other trucks do in their service to our seaside village.

So, In honor of Charlie Holdredge’s 65 + years of dedicated service to the Watch Hill Fire Department, his dedication to his family's legacy of service to the WHFD, his commitment to the youth of our community, and his undying passion for being a voice for others. The Watch Hill Fire Department named Squad 100 "The Voice."

Holdredge joined the Department in 1956 as a firefighter along side his Father in the old Bay Street Fire Station. He continued to serve as a Firefighter and then later as a Fire Police Officer. He has continued to be an advocate and member of various committees. He is often still found at our Breakfast table, in the Trucks for parades, and at our monthly company meetings. His son Brian Holdredge was a Lieutenant for a number of years at WHFD, currently the Captain of the Misquamicut Fire Department, and his Grandson Brady is in the Fire Academy today in Kansas.

Charlie regaled the crowd gathered including families of our personnel and his own family with a few stories of yesteryear.

Comments were made by Chief of Department Dennis Reall and District Moderator Joan-Beth Brown thanking members of the Department for their service and wishing them holiday greetings. Finally, Chief Reall made mention of a grant obtained by Assistant Chief Christopher Koretski and the Board of Engineers from the A.M. Roberts Foundation in the amount of $100,000.00 to support the purchase of new portable radios for the Department. More information will be released on this purchase at a future time.

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