WILMINGTON, MA — The Wilmington Board of Selectmen took time out of its meeting this week to honor Wilmington Fire Chief Rick McClellan, who retired Friday after 35 years of service to the town. He rose through the ranks, from private to lieutenant to deputy to chief.
“From my perspective, [Rick] was a great chief,” said Town Manager Jeff Hull, who pointed to his problem-solving abilities and personnel management skills. “I’m going to miss having him to bounce things off of… I wish him the best.”
“Rick has been a phenomenal chief and great friend,” said Police Chief Michael Begonis. “He’s a consummate professional. I was blessed to work with him over these years.”
“This is a bittersweet moment,” said Selectman Chair Mike Champoux. “It’s great to see good things happen to good people. I’m glad you’ll have more time to spend with family and do whatever you want to do. You’ve earned that right. The bitter part, however, is that we have to say goodbye and with a heavy heart… Congrats on your successful career.”
“I wish you good luck and good health,” added Selectman Kevin Caira. “You’ve had a distinguished career. You’re a professional. You were always welcoming to me. You had an open door. We couldn’t have asked for anybody else.”
“Congratulations and thank you for your service to this town,” said Selectman Greg Bendel, who noted conversations with the chief often end with him bragging about his family. “I wish you and your grandkids well.”
“You’ve always been a professional, a gentleman to me,” said Selectman Ed Loud. “I appreciate not only you as the leader, but everyone below you for what they do for this community. I wish you well in your retirement.”
“It’s been a great ride. I really appreciate this town. It’s been very, very good to me,” responded Chief McClellan, after receiving a citation from the Board of Selectmen. “Wilmington will be in good hands going forward. You have a lot of dedicated men and women [at the public safety building] who give 110% everyday.”
How will McClellan enjoy retirement? He says he has “a lot of things to get done around the house,” with his wife’s to-do list getting longer by the day. “Playing things by ear for a little while,” he continued, noting he’ll be spending more time with his grandkids and perhaps a few months down in Florida.
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