BERWICK, Maine — Fire Chief Dennis Plante was named the Firefighter of the Year on behalf of the American Legion Department of Maine, at the group’s 95th annual State Convention in Augusta on June 14.
Plante joined the department as a volunteer firefighter in 1969 and now leads three full-time staffers and 28 on-call members, who serve as the town’s first response emergency organization.
“It was a privileged feeling to be a recipient of this award,” Plante said Tuesday. “To tell you the truth, it was surprising. I never thought I would be awarded something like this.”
The award recognizes Plante’s 47 years of dedication to Berwick where he served as a code enforcement officer, part-time police officer in Berwick and South Berwick, and interim town manager.
Plante contributed firefighting training, fire and medical emergency management and fire prevention, inspection and safety advancements in the department.
One particular advancement in the department involves educating students at the Hussey and Knowlton elementary schools about fire prevention. Last month, the department engaged children in a “smoke trailer education program” where students were able to participate and gain experience in locating a safe escape route in a smoke-filled environment. Plante says the department’s commitment to the community drives them to provide services to the best of their ability.
“I believe that commitment will continue,” he said.
Plante was born in Rochester and raised in Berwick, where he then raised his two sons, Mark and Steven, who are both local firefighters.
Additionally, Plante follows a family tradition of firefighters that includes his younger brother Bruce, uncles, a grandfather and his father, Authur Plante, who was the past fire chief for Berwick for 15 years.
The Charles S. Hatch Post #79 nominated Plante for the award. Plante has been a Legion member in Berwick for three years.
Distributed by MCT Information Services