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Brendan Burns is Manchester's youngest fire captain


LONDONDERRY - Growing up in Merrimack, Brendan Burns was a frequent visitor at the fire station across the street from his house.

"I think most kids at some point in their childhood wanted to be a firefighter," the Londonderry resident said.

After graduating from Merrimack High School in 1994, the son of a former police officer began working toward that dream. In December 2005, the Manchester Fire Department hired him, and in March 1996, the 19-year-old Burns began working as a city firefighter.

Seventeen years later, Burns is the department's youngest fire captain.

He's seen many changes in the force over the years.

"I think our call volume has pretty much doubled over that time period," the married father of three said. "And these days, I think we're doing more with fewer people."

As a modern-day firefighter, each day brings its own unique challenges, Burns said.

"Back in the day, most of our calls would be for actual fires and other emergencies," he noted. "But nowadays, we've kind of become the people you call to help you when there's no one else."

Despite his hectic work schedule, Burns makes it a point to give back whenever he can.

An avid volunteer, Burns supports dozens of area organizations: he coaches a Special Olympics team, coordinates the local boot drive for the Muscular Dystrophy Association and serves on the town of Londonderry's Public Safety Dispatch Committee, among many other things.

"I think when you find something you want to do, you just make the time for it," Burns said. "Luckily my wife has been very understanding and when she can, she's often there helping, too."

The lessons learned from former high school football coach Joe Raycraft are lessons he carried into adulthood.

"I really wasn't the best football player," he recalled, noting that during his senior year he almost got kicked off the team when he found himself failing one of his courses.

That's when Joe laid down the law.

"Whether I played or not, that really wasn't going to affect the team," Burns said. "But Joe was always very tough on us. As a supervisor, I can really respect that now."

As the captain of the Engine 9 Fire Station on Calef Road, Burns now oversees eight firefighters and three lieutenants.

He's also worked hard over the past 18 months to make the Manchester Fire Department's car seat safety inspection program a reality.

"Before then, it placed a huge financial burden on the town: getting the seats and sending our guys to a week's worth of training," Burns said.

In the end, Burns and three of his colleagues decided to go get trained on their own time and declined payment for the hours spent in training.

Federal grants and donations acquired from area businesses further assisted their efforts.

To date, the program has inspected 200 residents' car seats . and counting.

"It costs our fire department nothing and it's also the perfect opportunity for residents to come and visit the fire station," Burns said.

        

March 16 Reception!

Join the New Hampshire Union Leader, Citizens Bank and the Business and Industry Association of New Hampshire as we honor this year’s 40 Under Forty class.

When: March 16, 2016 – 5:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Where: Grappone Conference Center – Concord, NH

Tickets: Tickets are $40 per person and can be purchased online by clicking the button below or you can arrange for tickets by calling 603.206.7834 or emailing ewhalen@unionleader.com.

THANKS TO OUR PROGRAM SPONSOR

Class of 2016

Kris Mailepors: 'Better leaders produce better results'

Kris Mailepors: 'Better leaders produce better results'

Neil Nicholson: 'He's never lost sight of the importance of helping others'

Neil Nicholson: 'He's never lost sight of the importance of helping others'

John Vaccarezza: 'Mr. Vacc' has settled in with Central Pride

John Vaccarezza: 'Mr. Vacc' has settled in with Central Pride

Michael Dimos: A big booster for Manchester

Michael Dimos: A big booster for Manchester

Brent Kiley: A leader's job is to listen

Brent Kiley: A leader's job is to listen

Amy Manzelli: Busy mom is an attorney focused on the environment

Amy Manzelli: Busy mom is an attorney focused on the environment

Charles Lloyd: Finding success in giving back

Charles Lloyd: Finding success in giving back

Subash Acharya: Bhutan native helps refugees become self-sufficient

Subash Acharya: Bhutan native helps refugees become self-sufficient

Cam Brensinger: Building a foundation for the future

Cam Brensinger: Building a foundation for the future

Christine DeAngelis: Focused on Rochester children, economics

Christine DeAngelis: Focused on Rochester children, economics

Joshua Bourdon: Derry councilor sees potential in everybody

Joshua Bourdon: Derry councilor sees potential in everybody

Deo Mwano: Giving back has been a healing process

Deo Mwano: Giving back has been a healing process

Anthony Correnti: Eye doc sees constant challenges

Anthony Correnti: Eye doc sees constant challenges

Jennifer Creasey: Franklin native gives back to her city

Jennifer Creasey: Franklin native gives back to her city

Peter Laufenberg: Helping students along the career path

Peter Laufenberg: Helping students along the career path

Maria Noel Groves: Herbalist spreads the word on wellness

Maria Noel Groves: Herbalist spreads the word on wellness

Allison Joseph: MY TURN executive helps at-risk youth

Allison Joseph: MY TURN executive helps at-risk youth

Jason Bergeron: His family embraces 'live for today'

Jason Bergeron: His family embraces 'live for today'

Michael Browning: His goal is creating game changers

Michael Browning: His goal is creating game changers

 Suraj Budathoki: New U.S. citizen advocates for human rights

Suraj Budathoki: New U.S. citizen advocates for human rights

 Kat Antonioli: Nonprofit co-founder believes it's better to give than to receive

Kat Antonioli: Nonprofit co-founder believes it's better to give than to receive

Jackie Christensen: onCampus creator 'cuts through the noise'

Jackie Christensen: onCampus creator 'cuts through the noise'

Jennifer A. Vadney: Opening doors to new homes

Jennifer A. Vadney: Opening doors to new homes

Jessica Chabot: P.R. pro volunteers to help veterans

Jessica Chabot: P.R. pro volunteers to help veterans

Jason B. Grosky: Prosecutor's commitment to civic life is a juggling act

Jason B. Grosky: Prosecutor's commitment to civic life is a juggling act

 Dr. Adrian Thomas: Surgeon's evenings filled with family

Dr. Adrian Thomas: Surgeon's evenings filled with family

Kendra Bell: Proud to be from the North Country

Kendra Bell: Proud to be from the North Country

Tara Albert: Key to her success caring for the environment is loving the job

Tara Albert: Key to her success caring for the environment is loving the job

Joseph Manzoli Jr.: The power of a superhero

Joseph Manzoli Jr.: The power of a superhero

Jason Beaudet: Transforming design into reality

Jason Beaudet: Transforming design into reality

Jennifer Malone: Vet goes the extra mile to provide creature comforts

Jennifer Malone: Vet goes the extra mile to provide creature comforts

Martha Frechette: Working with dogs 'just makes your day'

Martha Frechette: Working with dogs 'just makes your day'

Shaloo Savla: A drive to be part of the solution

Shaloo Savla: A drive to be part of the solution

Maria Proulx: A strong work ethic pays off

Maria Proulx: A strong work ethic pays off

 Katherine Peters: Commitment to energy efficiency, public service drives career

Katherine Peters: Commitment to energy efficiency, public service drives career

Kevin Smith: Leading Londonderry forward

Kevin Smith: Leading Londonderry forward

Meredith Stidham: Committed to social justice

Meredith Stidham: Committed to social justice

Dave Tencza: Protecting NH's most vulnerable

Dave Tencza: Protecting NH's most vulnerable

Gina Powers: State House lobbyist thrives on volunteer work

Gina Powers: State House lobbyist thrives on volunteer work

Fr. Kyle Stanton: Young priest a pastor to two flocks

Fr. Kyle Stanton: Young priest a pastor to two flocks

Class of 2017 Nominations

Please summarize below the nominee's professional and volunteer accomplishments, and other special factors that you feel make them deserving of this recognition. Please include complete contact information for nominee.

For more information on the 40 Under 40 program, contact Shannon K. Sullivan, Community Relations Manager, 603-206-7833 or ssullivan@unionleader.com.

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