WILMINGTON -- Brian J. Johnson
says fire chief is a full time job if there ever was one, but he
was still hesitant to quit.
"It's quite different.It's quite a responsibility," says Johnson
, 50."It's a 24-7 job." Johnson left his post at the Wilmington Fire Department in February 2003 and last week was awarded the 2004 Vermont State Firefighters Association Distinguished Service Award for his work there.
The department tried to nominate him for the fire chief of the year award, but he
was disqualified because he
was no longer in the position.
hasn't left the department altogether; he's
still an active volunteer firefighter.But now, he
doubles as the assistant fire marshall for the Vermont Department of Labor and Industry
It's a lot different, he
isn't expected to work seven days a week.And he
isn't responsible for everything that goes on in the department.
"When you get done with a day's work, you're done," he
said Sunday."You're not sitting home waiting for something to happen." Johnson was in high school when he joined the department in 1970, as one of five original members of the "Junior Firefighter" program.He became an official firefighter when he graduated in 1972. Assistant fire chief Richard Covey worked with him from the beginning; Covey was a senior and Johnson was a junior at Wilmington High School.
"He was very gung-ho and he's been the same way since then," said Covey, describing Johnson
as "very devoted."
...In total, Johnson was volunteer fire chief for six years and full-time chief for 13 years.He was emergency management director, 911 coordinator, health officer, forest fire warden and town safety officer.He still serves as the town's forest fire warden.