By Andreas Yilma Citizen’s News
NAUGATUCK — Shepherd Salem Lodge No. 78 of Naugatuck gave its first Hometown Hero award to Assistant Fire Chief Walter Seaman and also honored one its own for 50 years of membership.
Masonic lodge members honored Seaman with a hometown hero award plaque for his services to Terryville and Naugatuck and a check to the Naugatuck Fire Department at its lodge at 130 Church St. on Tuesday, May 24.
“I think it’s awesome. I think it’s a great award that we’re giving out. The stuff that they do,” Secretary of the lodge Mike Adams said. “Recognizing what they do for us. If we give them back just a little bit and recognizing them.”
Seaman was thankful for the mason members for having this award to recognize the dedication, sacrifice and the pride of the men and women who serve the borough every day.
“I am honored and humbled to receive this award from the oldest, largest and one of the best known fraternal organizations in the world,” Seaman said. “I read that the masons possess a strong belief of family, community, pride, country and sound ethical moral values kind of like the fire service, we’re not much different.”
Seaman also thanked former Terryville Assistant Fire Chief Chris Masi, Naugatuck Deputy Fire Chief Ken Hanks, Emergency Management Director Fran Dambowsky, Fire Chief Paul Russell, Naugatuck Mayor N. Warren “Pete” Hess and the Naugatuck Fire Commission.
Seaman began his fire service career when he became a junior firefighter with the Terryville Fire Department in September of 1987. He became a full member in 1991 where he eventually held the rank of lieutenant for that department.
Seaman, a graduate of the Connecticut Fire Academy, was sworn to the Naugatuck Fire Department in September of 2008. He was promoted to the position of assistant mechanic and then to the rank of lieutenant in 2015. He later achieved the rank of captain in March 2018 before he ultimately was promoted to assistant chief in December 2019.
Seaman is a strong advocate for training. He has required a diversified training background and holds various certifications such as public fire life safety educator, health and safety officer, chemical and biological weapons technician, emergency medical technician and is an accredited training officer through the International Society of Fire Service Instructors.
Seaman, who is enrolled at Charter Oak State College to obtain his degree in Public Safety Administration, has been awarded by Terryville Fire Department rookie of the year, the chief’s award and an award for performing a life saving rescue for removing a victim from a fire.
He was the department of Connecticut’s American Legion firefighter of the year for 2019 and has been an active fire service instructor for over 20 years.
Seaman, an active fire service instructor for over twenty years, has taught at a regional fire school and is a former director of operations for fire training. He is currently an instructor for the state of Connecticut at Gateway Community College in New Haven.
Seaman sits as the vice chairman for the Naugatuck Emergency Management Advisory Council.
He belongs to various professional organizations including as New Haven County Fire Emergency Planning Council, Waterbury Area Fire Chiefs Association, the National Fire Protection Association, Connecticut’s Fireman’s Association, International Fire Chief’s Association, and International Society of Fire Service Instructors.
Hess presented Seaman with a proclamation from the borough to honor him for services as well.
“When I think about my job, the most important part of it is public safety and we’ve got a lot of integral parts in Naugatuck and Walter plays a large role in much of that,” Hess said.
Masons also awarded their long time member John W. Ford, a borough native, with a 50-year pin emblem as a visible token of eternal love and grateful appreciation and dues card.
“It’s a wonderful organization,” Ford said. “I’m really pleased to be honored by a 50-year pin, plus a free dues card. I never have to pay dues again.”
Ford, 77, who has two children, three grand children and is the former owner the Alderson Ford Funeral Home but has since sold it his son, thanked everyone at the meeting.
“That’s an awesome achievement right there,” Adams said. “Being in any organization for 50 years.”