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Gillespie receives Fire Chief of the Year Award

By Fran Gonzalez | Oct 18, 2019
Courtesy of: Lisa Gillespie Liberty Fire Chief Bill Gillespie and his wife, Lisa, at the Maine Fire Chiefs Association Convention in Bangor Oct. 2, where he received the Fire Chief of the Year Award.

Liberty — Liberty Fire Chief Bill Gillespie was honored as 2019 Fire Chief of the Year by the Maine Fire Chiefs Association Oct. 2.

According to Chief John Duross of the Saco Fire Department, who is president of the association, Gillespie was totally surprised.

Nominated by Liberty Town Administrator Kenn Ortmann and endorsed by Sen. Erin Herbig, D-Waldo County, Gillespie was also recommended by all members of the Liberty Board of Selectmen.

Made up of fire chiefs from around the state, the association shares information about legislative developments, the Maine Fire Service Institute, and the state Fire Marshal's Office. It also offers resource directories, training and networking opportunities.

According to Duross, nominees must meet a list of requirements that include having at least three years' experience as chief, being actively involved in fire prevention education and training and safety improvements within the department, and also being involved in county or mutual aid fire organization. The nominee also must be recognized by peers as a leader.

Duross said every year the association receives five or six nominations from around the state. Gillespie currently is a sergeant-at-arms in the association and now will move up to second vice president, putting him in line to be president, Duross said.

Herbig said, “Having worked with Chief Gillespie for many years, I can’t imagine anyone more deserving of this honor. His dedication to our community and firefighters statewide is extraordinary. Leaders like Chief Gillespie don’t come along often — he exemplifies a spirit of service and sacrifice.”

Reached by phone, Gillespie said it was a "tremendous honor" that the town, along with many in the community, felt he deserved this award.

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