CORNWALL – After 30 years as a Cornwall firefighter, Platoon Chief Luc Richer is retiring.
Surrounded by fellow firefighters and retirees Wednesday morning at the fire station on Fourth Street, Richer was presented with a shadow box of his employment letter and stripes, a plaque with a firefighting ax, a duffel bag made out of his bunker gear and a Habs jersey donning his name. His wife, Cathy, was also given a bouquet.
Richer started with the Cornwall Fire Services in Oct. 4, 1988 after a brief stint in the correctional service in Kingston. He was promoted to captain in May 2010 and then to platoon chief in May 2014. His official retirement date is Friday, Nov. 30, 2018.
Fire Chief Pierre Voisine remarked on Richer’s pure qualities of honesty and dedication to service. “Luc might be the nicest person I’ve have ever had the pleasure to know and work with. He is genuine. He is honest. I see Luc walking around like a big heart walking around,” Voisine said.
The chief also praised the hard work and effort Richer put into the Cornwall Professional Firefighters Association and it was “always done because you care so much about the people you work with.”
Voisine’s speech also cracked some jokes about fishing – a hobby shared by both Richer and Voisine.
But, on a more serious level, he touched on Luc’s qualities. Richer and his son, Mattieu, helped on their own time when Voisine’s home town of Rockland was hit by the Ottawa River flooding. “On their time off, after working shifts, spent their days, countless hours, helping residents cope with that situation. If that doesn’t tell you what kind of character this man has, nothing does.”
CFS Captain Jody Dewer said it was nice to see Richer retiring on his own terms. “He has his health, mind, family and plans for the future. If you don’t know him like we do, don’t be surprised to see Luc, a lot of his days spent somewhere on his boat, with his fishing rod in hand, looking to catch the big one.”
Then it was the retiree’s turn to speak.
“It’s been a great career guys. Thirty years, thank you all for being there, one way or another. The last four years, not much I could have done. We got to the call, you guys did it. Once in a while I had to go on the radio to make sure they knew I was there. You guys made it really easy, much appreciated. I will be hanging around the stations, not five days a week. Thank you all for making this a very memorable day,” Richer said.
Richer was moved to tears as he acknowledged his family’s support during his career over three decades. “I thank my family for the good times, bad times, you guys are always there,” he said, his voice quivering.
Richer also holds the distinction of long service on the Cornwall Professional Firefighters Association executive at over 20 years. He was president of CPFFA on his retirement.
The retirement party included a final dispatch page across the first responders radio system. Listen to it below.