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    Friday, June 09, 2017 00:00

New Lynnfield fire truck honors Lt. Alan MacDonald

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It was a beautiful summer day for the blessing of the new fire engine in honor of the late Lt. Alan MacDonald, who passed away in February. Last Friday friends, family and townspeople joined together at the firehouse at the South Station at 600 Salem St. to welcome the new pumper, which has been in the works for a number of months and was just put into service a few weeks ago.

The new truck replaces the 1985 “Engine 3” Mack Truck. In his speech, Fire Chief Mark Tetreault thanked the Board of Selectmen for their role in approving funds for the new purchase.

“The arrival of engine 1 not only shows our commitment to the safety and well-being of our residents,” Board of Selectmen Chairman Chris Barrett said, soon after, “... it shows that we’ll do whatever it takes to provide the very best for our firefighters.”

Retired Lieutenant Alan MacDonald, for whom the new Engine 1 is dedicated, served Lynnfield in addition to Wakefield and Newbury in his more than 50-year long career. Colleagues and family members at the ceremony remembered him fondly for his sense of humor and dedication to the department.

“Alan was looked at as a valuable mentor, and he was always willing to offer his wisdom, his knowledge and his insight,” Chief Tetreault said, later describing him as a “pivotal member of our department.”

Tetreault said that MacDonald remained very active in the firefighting community even after retirement, attending almost every recruit graduation and serving on the hiring committee for new call firefighters. He also served on a number of fire committees and associations along the North Shore.

Alan MacDonald’s widow, Anita Rassias, was clearly touched by the event. “[The event is] such a tribute to my husband,” a tearful Rassias said. “He just loved the fire service.” He “always wanted his own fire engine”, she added, with a smile.

The Fire Department presented the MacDonald family with a framed photograph of the new engine as a gift.

The department, not one to forgo tradition, performed a number of tributes to the vehicle. Firefighter EMT Christopher Cavalieri and Lieutenant Medic Richard Ripley conducted a “wet-down” of the truck with a fire hose, and Lieutenant EMT Kevin Mutti led the steering of the truck back into the bay. Chief Tetreault said that the wetting down and pushing of the truck into the station harks back to when Lynnfield had horses that they had to wet down and a carriage that then firefighters had to push back into their bay.

Afterwards, attendees enjoyed a barbeque.

The Advocate asked Chief Tetreault how he thought MacDonald might react if he were here.

“He would be very honored,” he said with a smile, “and very embarrassed.”

By Melanie Higgins





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