Bethlehem fire chief honored for 50 years of service to townBy JOHN KOZIOL
Union Leader Correspondent August 12. 2018 8:29PM
BETHLEHEM — Acknowledging that it came as a complete surprise, Fire Chief Jack Anderson got the axe on Saturday from the Board of Selectmen and was very grateful for it.
On behalf of the selectmen, chairman Mary Moritz and vice chairman Linda Moore presented Anderson with a plaque on which is affixed a ceremonial fire axe and an inscription citing Anderson’s 50 years of service to the town with the Bethlehem Fire Department.
At age 70 and with plans to remain a Bethlehem firefighter “as long as I can,” Anderson was born in Woodsville, grew up in Wells River, Vt., and graduated from Spaulding High School in Barre, Vt.
He headed east to the Granite State and a job at the Atlantic & Pacific grocery store in Littleton, settling one town over in Bethlehem. In 1968, Anderson became a volunteer firefighter in his new hometown and 28 years later, he was named the Bethlehem fire chief.
In 2010, Anderson, who is also the town’s emergency management director, became the fire department’s sole full-time employee.
Anderson’s public safety resume is an extensive one and includes his being the project supervisor for the construction in 2014 of the Raymond S. Burton North Country Fire and Emergency Medical Services Training Facility, which is located on Trudeau Road in Bethlehem.
The facility is the only one of its kind in the North Country and it saves fire departments in the White Mountains and above both time and money because their firefighters no longer have to travel to Concord for training.
“I had something to do with that,” Anderson said modestly.
A few minutes later, Selectman Richard Ubaldo told several hundred residents and guests who turned out to the Town Gazebo for the Bethlehem SummerFest, which is billed as a “day long, town-wide celebration of all things Bethlehem,” that Anderson helped start that event and many others in town.
In accepting his very shiny axe, Anderson, who with his wife Patricia, have a blended family of six children, numerous grandchildren and several great grandchildren, made it clear that he was overwhelmed by the honor but that he had long considered himself a fortunate person.
“It’s just so easy to do what’s right for this town,” said Anderson, adding, after a flurry of photos taken by his many supporters, that “I love each and every one of you.”