Jefferson firefighter Don Hastings was presented with a Spirit of America Award on Thursday, June 8 at Willow Grange in Jefferson. Hastings was recognized for his service to the town of Jefferson.
Hastings grew up in Tallman, N.Y., where he was a junior fireman until he moved to Spring Valley, N.Y., where he served as deputy chief from 1960-1962 and chief from 1962-1964.
Then he was hired as the Rockland County fire coordinator and managed the fire mutual aid system, the fire dispatch system, and operations at the Rockland County Fire Training Center.
He retired in 1991 and moved to Jefferson, Maine. He immediately signed on with Jefferson Fire and Rescue. After discovering that firefighters in Lincoln County did not have advanced training available to them, Hastings began to arrange training at Rockland County’s large training facility. He worked with the Lincoln County Fire Chiefs Association and Lincoln County Emergency Management Agency Director Gerry Silva to arrange bus transportation to New York so hundreds of Lincoln County firefighters could receive training.
Lincoln County firefighters formed a bond with firefighters from Rockland County, which led to the donation of used fire equipment, including trucks, to departments in Lincoln County.
Hastings was a “very vivid supporter of the formation” of the Lincoln County Fire Academy, Lincoln County Fire Academy President Dave Pratt said. The first class to graduate from the Lincoln County Fire Academy was in 2007, and the Academy recognized Hastings’ work by presenting an award in his name to one of the graduates, John Roberts, a member of Willow Grange.
Hastings thoroughly enjoyed the evening, often interrupting to tell a story or recognize a fellow firefighter. Roll call was by fire department: Jefferson, 17; Waldoboro, 2; Damariscotta, 2; Bremen, 2; and Thomaston, 1. There were also 14 Grangers from Willow (3 are firefighters), one member of Chelsea Grange and ten guests.
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