Four firefighters join roster

The Wilton Fire Department got a lot bigger on Aug. 14.
Four new firefighters — Eric Tucker, Noah Fouad, Donald Scarpetti and John Edwards — were sworn in at a ceremony that featured talks from Fire Commission Chairman Gary Mecozzi, First Selectman Bill Brennan, Fire Chief Ron Kanterman and Deputy Chief Mark Amatrudo.
Mecozzi said Wilton had never before sworn in four firefighters at once.
“This is a big day for us,” he said. “I think it’s the first time in Wilton that we’re putting on this many new firefighters.”
“We’re bringing in new people to our family and we’re bringing in new people to our town,” he added, “and I think it’s important that they understand how important we feel our family is.”
Mecozzi mentioned that the Wilton Fire Department is just short of being fully staffed.
“We have a couple other  positions opening up — captains’ positions — we  want to fill those, and then we’ll be back up to full strength,” he said.
“So guys, make me proud, and good luck,” Mecozzi concluded.
When he finished speaking, Mecozzi offered the floor to Brennan for remarks.
“You’ve heard the word family mentioned several times as to the family of our firefighters,” Brennan said. “This is a family town; this is an extremely close-knit town that’s focused on schools and family. Our firefighters and our police officers, our first responders, keep us safe. So it’s critical that we get the best people we possibly can to keep our firefighting force well-equipped so we can be sure that we can live up to our responsibility of keeping our families, who live in this town, safe.”
It was then Kanterman’s turn to speak. He commented on the modest nature of firefighters and observed that they are more inclined to enjoy appreciation given to them as a team rather than on an individual level.
“Firefighters who receive medals of valor,” he said, “always say they were just doing their job or doing what they were trained for. They’d rather get a group award and share it with their teammates than stand alone.”
But while he praised public safety service and told several lighthearted jokes, Kanterman cautioned the ceremony’s attendees not to forget the seriousness of the line of work into which the new firefighters were about to venture.
“As we welcome these men aboard today, I’ll ask that you take a good look at their faces as the clerk swears them in,” he said. “I guarantee you’ll see a solemnity rarely seen when others start a career other than in public safety. At a moment’s notice, we are out the door willing and able to do what’s necessary to return the community to normal. It’s something we don’t take lightly.”

Eric Tucker

Eric Tucker is from Wallingford. He was a personal trainer for 13 years and owned his own personal training business for one.
“In his quest to be a career firefighter, he sold his business and used the money to put himself through the Connecticut Fire Academy Recruit School where he was selected as a squad leader by his fellow recruits because of his attitude, his ability to motivate others and his dedication to duty,” Kanterman said.
Tucker graduated from the program with Class 54 in the fall of 2014.
He actively served with the Monroe Fire Department as a volunteer for the last five years.

Noah Fouad

Noah Fouad is from New Canaan, where he has worked as an active volunteer with New Canaan Fire Company No. 1., a partner fire company to the career service in town.
He earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Boulder, Colorado, and served one year as a firefighter and instructor with the Boulder Rural Fire Department.
After returning to New Canaan, he worked with the volunteer fire company and put in five to six work tours per week with the career staff, Kanterman said.
“In essence,” said Kanterman, “he’s been a full-time career unpaid guy for the past six years.”
Fouad put himself through the Connecticut Fire Academy Recruit Firefighter Program, graduating with Class 53 in the spring of 2014.
His peers selected him as a squad leader “due to his positive, can-do attitude, his personal demeanor and his lust for learning,” Kanterman said.

Donald Scarpetti

Donald Scarpetti is from Bridgeport.
He served with the Naugatuck Fire Department as a career firefighter for past two and one-half years.
Scarpetti earned a bachelor’s degree in fire science and administration from the University of New Haven, where he made the dean’s list three times.
Scarpetti also interned at the Bridgeport fire marshal’s office and the State Forensic Lab in Meriden.
He graduated from the Connecticut Fire Academy Recruit Firefighter Program with Class 51 in the spring of 2013.

John Edwards

John Edwards is a native Wiltonian. He recently completed a 27-year career with the Greenwich Fire Department and retired as a lieutenant.
Edwards also served six years with the Connecticut Army National Guard before being honorably discharged.
He earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Connecticut, where he finished with a 4.0 overall grade-point-average, and a master’s degree in education and teaching from the University of Bridgeport.
According to Kanterman, Edwards told the fire commission at his interview that “knowledge and learning are key to doing anything successfully ... Training, learning and practice are what make us good at our job.”
Edwards is certified as Fire Officer II, Instructor I, Hazardous Materials Technician, Rescue Technician and Pro Board Certified Fire Investigator.
Tucker, Fouad, Scarpetti and Edwards each had loved ones pin their new badges onto their coats.
After all was said and done, Amatrudo ceremoniously presented the new firefighters with helmet front pieces, and then commented on a special word that was said repeatedly throughout the ceremony.
“We heard the term ‘family’ three times here today: the first time with respect to the community by First Selectman Brennan, the second time about the community and public safety, firemen, EMS and police, the third time with respect to the fire service,” Amatrudo said. “I get the privilege of thanking the ‘fourth family,’ those of you who came today, for what you’ve done either throughout their previous careers or during their time at the fire academy, for the sacrifices made, and just ask you to continue to do that, for them, as they move forward as members of our department.”