Town loses ‘institution’

Former fire chief, town employee left mark on Beacon Falls

Frank DelVecchio

Frank DelVecchio

BEACON FALLS — The town lost a community servant and “an institution” last week.

Frank “Rinky” DelVecchio, 92, passed away after a brief illness on May 15 at Beacon Brook Healthcare in Naugatuck.

A lifelong Beacon Falls resident, DelVecchio spent most of his adult life serving his country and town.

DelVecchio served in the U.S. Army in World War II and was a survivor of the first wave of attacks on Omaha Beach on D-Day. He also volunteered with the Beacon Hose Company No. 1 for more than 60 years, serving as an officer for 20 years and fire chief from 1976 to 1981.

Beacon Hose spokesman Jeremy Rodorigo said DelVecchio remained involved with the firehouse throughout his life.

“He was a good guy,” Rodorigo said. “I got to know him pretty well as a past chief and one of the old timers that had all the knowledge of the traditions at the firehouse.”

In addition to his service with Beacon Hose, DelVecchio worked as the road foreman for the Beacon Fall’s Department of Public Works for 56 years, First Selectman Christopher Bielik said.

“He was an institution in this town,” Bielik said. “It’s unheard of in this day and age to have somebody so dedicated and to have somebody give the better part of their life to making a municipality better. It’s just an incredible legacy.”

According to Bielik, DelVecchio retired from public works in March 2005.

“When you add to his service as road foreman that he was chief for six years, it’s just further testament to the spirit of volunteerism he gave to this town,” Bielik said. “To me it goes to show the small-town mentality, when people set up roots in a place and really embrace it.”

Rodorigo, who works for American Medical Response ambulance service, said DelVecchio was a family man who was dedicated to his wife Pauline.

One time, when his wife was taken by ambulance to the hospital, DelVecchio stayed by her side the whole time, Rodorigo said.

“I remember when we wheeled her into the ER, he stayed with her the whole time. He held her hand and said, ‘I’m going to be here with my best girl,’” Rodorigo said. “He wanted to make sure he was there for his wife. That shows the kind of person he was.”

Rodorigo said men like DelVecchio and former fire chief Roger Brennan, who passed away in January, were men who were able to get the job done.

“The old-time firemen did things a little differently because that’s the way it was done in their day,” Rodorigo said. “They just ate smoke and breathed fire. They just got it done. They didn’t have the technical advances we have today. They were just tough.”