2017-07-13 / Front Page

BFD celebrates long-time captain's retirement

By ALAN BENNETT
Staff Writer

BIDDEFORD — Dozens gathered at Biddeford’s Central Fire Station on Wednesday afternoon to celebrate the career and retirement of Fire Capt. Norman Melancon.

Melancon’s retirement comes after 42 ½ years of service with the Biddeford Fire Department, a career he began in January 1975.

Fire Capt. Norman Melancon becomes emotional as he thanks his family for their support during his 42-plus years of service with the Biddeford Fire Department. ALAN BENNETT/Journal TribuneFire Capt. Norman Melancon becomes emotional as he thanks his family for their support during his 42-plus years of service with the Biddeford Fire Department. ALAN BENNETT/Journal TribuneFriends, family and firefighters came together to honor Melancon for his commitment to service and strong leadership at a cookout and ceremony held at the fire station. Most who spoke at the ceremony said Melancon will be “sorely missed.”

“I’ve had the opportunity to work with him when I came in as a private,” said Fire Chief Scott Gagne. “I can’t say enough about the leadership that he’s given me and the inspiration as I started.”

Gagne presented Melancon with a plaque commemorating his service, and a gold captain’s badge. Later in the ceremony, Melancon was also handed the American Flag, which had been flying over the fire station, in a Presentation of the Flag.

“I can’t say enough about what he’s done for me when I was on his shift, and what he’s done for me as the chief of the department,” Gagne said.

City Manager Jim Bennett also spoke at the event, as a friend to Melancon, and praised his straightforward attitude.

“Norm has never, ever not told me what he’s thinking,” Bennett said to laughs from the crowd.Biddeford Fire Chief Scott Gagne, left, hugs retiring Capt. Norman Melancon following a Presentation of the Flag on Wednesday. ALAN BENNETT/Journal TribuneBiddeford Fire Chief Scott Gagne, left, hugs retiring Capt. Norman Melancon following a Presentation of the Flag on Wednesday. ALAN BENNETT/Journal Tribune

Melancon, taking the podium, announced his 40th wedding anniversary and the marriages of his children, becoming emotional as he thanked his family for being supportive during his time with the department.

“Being a fireman, you’re not home all the time and they understood,” Melancon said of his family. “I hated to leave them, but this job — you had to be here. They put up with me for 40 years and it’s beyond belief.”

Melancon appeared to tear up as he held a dated photo of his children, saying they “brought me through all this time.”

“God, I love you guys,” he said.

Melancon thanked the crowd for showing up in his honor, saying he’ll miss the department and his comrades.

“I’m going to miss it,” he said, but added, “I am ready.”

— Staff Writer Alan Bennett can be contacted at 282-1535, ext. 329 or abennett@journaltribune.com.

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