Nathanson feted with brunch on last day at Wilton Fire Department

Dozens of well-wishers including out-of-town firefighters and local police converged on the Wilton Fire Department Dec. 28 for a brunch in honor of Ralph Nathanson, the department’s apparatus supervisor, mechanic, and special occasions bagpiper, whose last day of work it was after a career of 37 years.

Nathanson chatted with friends including John Walsh, retired fire chief of Willimantic, and talked about how nice it’s going to be, retired. He lives in Bethel and has a vacation home in Maine.

“He’s a good guy,” Walsh said of Nathanson, who talked with guests in the cleared-out space of the firehouse. The fire trucks were moved outside temporarily so the station could be packed with people.

A variety of baked goods and fresh fruits were served, along with copious amounts of coffee.

Fire Chief Ronald Kanterman said Nathanson will be missed in more ways than one.

“He was a jack of all trades, a great mechanic, and he was our piper,” Kanterman said. “He could do anything, and he did it with a smile.”

Nathanson’s job for 37 years was keeping the department’s trucks and equipment in fine working order. He was on call 24/7, and responded to fires as well.

Now he’ll be able to indulge in whatever his heart desires, and whenever.

“It’s going to be great,” Nathanson said of his retirement.