Former chief left lasting mark on Beacon Hose

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By Elio Gugliotti, Editor

Former Beacon Hose Co. No. 1 Chief Theodore Smith is shown in 2018 at the firehouse in Beacon Falls holding the Bologna Sandwich Award he created. Smith, who served Beacon Hose for 51 years, died June 5. –FILE PHOTO

BEACON FALLS — After more than 50 years of service with Beacon Hose Co. No. 1, there’s not much, if anything, that doesn’t have past Chief Theodore “Ted” Smith’s fingerprints on it at the volunteer department.

“Teddy is pretty much Beacon Hose,” Chief Brian DeGeorge said.

“He left his imprint everywhere,” DeGeorge added. “There’s nothing at the fire department that doesn’t have his mark on it.”

Smith died June 5. He was 75 years old.

Smith joined Beacon Hose in 1970. He followed in the footsteps of his father, Arthur Smith, who served as chief from 1956-61, and his grandfather, Theodore Smith, who volunteered with the department.

Smith became a lieutenant in 1986 and then rose to the rank of captain. Smith spent five years as assistant chief and served as chief from 1997-2000, completing the first father-son chief combination in Beacon Hose history.

DeGeorge described Smith as a “transitional chief” for the department, a leader who tied the old-school firefighting ways with new-school, 21st-century training and technology.

As DeGeorge, who joined the department in 1995, climbed the ranks, he said Smith would question him as much as anyone but was always supportive.

“Especially as chief, Teddy always had my back,” DeGeorge said.

Smith’s legacy in the fire service goes beyond Beacon Hose. He was a member of the Connecticut State Firefighters Association for more than 25 years. He also served as president of the Valley Fire Chiefs Association and the New Haven County Fire Chiefs Association, and was chairman of the Valley Fire School Building Committee.

In 2018, Smith was inducted into the CSFA Hall of Fame.

Jeremy Rodorigo, a firefighter, EMT and public information officer for Beacon Hose, said Smith deeply cared about Beacon Hose and cherished the department’s legacy.

“He appreciated people who appreciated the traditions of the department like he did,” Rodorigo said.

Smith started his own Beacon Hose tradition — the Bologna Sandwich Award. The honor is awarded at the department’s annual banquet. In 2018, Smith told the Citizen’s News there’s no rhyme or reason for who receives the honor. The award could honor someone for exemplary actions or a feat so idiotic it deserves recognition, he explained.

“He’d give it to whoever he wanted to,” DeGeorge said.

Rodorigo said the award exemplifies what it means to be a part of the Beacon Hose culture. He said the department is more than a group of firefighters and EMTs, it’s a family with its own quirks.

“It’s (the award) about someone who exemplifies the culture of the department — the good, bad and ugly,” Rodorigo said.

DeGeorge said Smith may have come across as a “rough guy,” but he was truly a family-oriented man. He said whenever the two spoke, family was the first topic of discussion before anything to do with the department.

Smith is survived by his wife, Lillian Smith. He also is survived by two sons, Darryl Smith and Chad Smith.

Services for Smith are June 12 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Beacon Hose, 35 North Main St. The department is planning a procession at 9:15 a.m. from the commuter parking lot on North Main Street to the firehouse for a tribute.