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John Fogarty retires after 35 years in the fire service

FAMILY AND FRIENDS gathered Saturday to wish 35-year fire department member John Fogarty well in his retirement from the fire service. Pictured here with Fogarty are some of the Center Ossipee Fire Department members and precinct officials. Top row: Firefighters Vincent Fazio, Dana Cullen, Jr., and Nate Williams. Middle row: Firefighters Joseph Deighan, Thomas Coates, Riley Stanchina, and Deputy Chief Peter Waugh; retired fire chief Roland Stockbridge, John Fogarty, Chief Michael Brownell, Deputy Chief Tom Fogarty, and Commissioners James Dolan and Robert Freeman. Front Row Junior Firefighter Cody Nason and Firefighter Cameron Quigley. (Mellisa Ferland photo) (click for larger version)
May 12, 2011
OSSIPEE — Family members, friends and fellow firefighters packed into Center Ossipee Fire Station last Saturday, May 7, to give best wishes to retiring lieutenant John Fogarty.

He always knew he wanted to be a firefighter, he said, since he was a child. His father was a police officer and a firefighter and his mother's dad was also a firefighter. Firefighting is so often a generational decision, with boys following the men before them who dedicated their lives to public service so not surprising that Fogarty and his brother Tom have spent a lifetime pursuing that field and their brother became a state trooper.

It was back in 1975 that Fogarty first joined the Center Ossipee Fire Department under its former chief, Roland Stockbridge. "I had finally fulfilled my dream," said Fogarty. At his retirement party Saturday, several family members and fellow firefighters, including the chief, shared heartwarming, though mostly funny stories about Fogarty.

Chief Michael Brownell credits Fogarty with getting him interested in the fire service. He said Fogarty was always very active, barely missing a call in all those years of service. "He has always been a constant supporter of the fire service, through thick and thin, through the politics, and in good times and bad times." Fogarty was awarded the Center Ossipee Firefighter of the Year award in 1997.

His sister fondly remembered fire calls late at night when they were kids and she wouldn't wake with the sound of the fire tone but rather the sound of Fogarty's "thump, thump, slam" as it took him about two steps to descend the full flight of stairs and be out the door, dressed in full gear.

Several spoke about Fogarty's innate ability to have a memory like no other, never forgetting a name or a face and always being the one to go to when a person wanted to find out all the town gossip. And being the one who was ready to settle things down, squashing the rumors that weren't true with his famous line, "I straightened out that so and so."

There were tears; there was plenty of laughter, and a real sense of the true brotherhood of the fire service throughout the retirement party. Fogarty plans to stay in the area and enjoy his retirement with his wife, children, and grandchildren.

Garnet Hill
Martin Lord Osman
Penny Pitou
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