Westport One man on his way to the Wadhams Water meeting was shocked and honored in a special surprise ceremony held to celebrate his service to the Wadhams Volunteer Fire Department for over 68 years.
On Dec. 6, accompanied by his wife Mary, Bob Jerdo arrived at the Westport Town Hall to a crowd of fire company members, town officials, assembly woman Teresa Sayward, and family members.
“If I had known about this I would have tried to get out of town,” Jerdo said after the ceremony.
“We knew you wouldn’t show up if you knew what was going on,” Town Supervisor Dan Connell said. “Just so we’re clear, this is not a retirement party. You’ll be at the fire company tomorrow morning washing trucks.”
Jerdo was presented with an outstanding service award from Assemblywoman Teresa Sayward, A Proclamation from FASNY, Certificate of appreciation from the Office of Fire Protection and Control from Deputy Fire Coordinator Herb Clark, a certificate of appreciation from the town board and a lifetime free pass to all basketball games at the Westport Central School.
“The residents of the town of Westport and the hamlet of Wadhams wish to extend their sincere thanks and appreciation for Bob’s years of unselfish devotion and protection he has given to his community,” Connell said.
The people in Wadhams have been trying to figure out how to honor Jerdo for his time and energy given to serving the Westport, Wadhams area Connell said.
Jerdo joined the Essex County at the age of 16, a year later in 1945 he lied about his age and entered the military and served for four years. Without missing a beat he returned from the army to the fire department and his wife Mary.
“Your exemplary commitment as well as your devotion to mankind and life and property are sincerely appreciated and will always be remembered,” Essex Emergency Services Director Don Jaquish said.