CHATHAM — Because of COVID-19, Chatham firefighters couldn’t give Pete Connick the traditional gathering thrown for retiring chiefs. Instead, they surprised him with a rolling tribute: a parade with firefighters and police from around Cape Cod.
With sirens blaring, the parade rolled in front of the Depot Road firehouse, where Connick, his family and other department members watched the procession. In addition to fire trucks and vehicles from as far away as Joint Base Cape Cod, the parade included police officers on motorcycles and even a Coast Guard crew on a trailered rescue boat. The display left Connick visibly moved.
Later, by Zoom meeting, the department carried out the official change of command ceremony. Town Manager Jill Goldsmith praised Connick for his 41 years on the Chatham Fire-Rescue Department. “He has served our community with great integrity,” she said.
Connick thanked his family for enduring missed birthdays and milestones, and for celebrating belated Christmases and “Fakesgiving.”
“You let me live my dream. It was great,” he said. Connick praised his department members for their service and sacrifice, and thanked Goldsmith from promoting the next group of officers from within the department.
Incoming Chief David DePasquale thanked Connick for being a steady leader and an excellent teacher and mentor, having led the department through fires, plane crashes, severe storms and a pandemic.
“Chief, your legacy is secure,” DePasquale said.
DePasquale’s wife, Tammy, pinned the chief’s badge on her husband before he was sworn in as the department’s new leader. He thanked his family for their support over the years, and his mentors.
“Thank you for your guidance, and most of all, for believing in me,” he said.
Former lieutenant Justin Tavano was promoted to deputy chief, and former firefighter Scott Long was made lieutenant.