Rob Jerdo cuts into the cake during a celebration honoring his service as a member of the Wadhams Volunteer Fire Company for 68 years. Jerdo was one of the founding members of the company and put in many hours working on the firehouse, training firefighters and leading the unit.
Photo by Katherine Clark.
continued Jerdo was also one of the founding members of the Wadhams Fire Company. Ernie LaPine, Chaplin of the Westport Fire District said the people of Wadhams though served by the Westport Fire Company saw a need for a department closer to Wadhams in case of an emergency.
“The 1950’s Wadhams was a pretty busy little hamlet,” Ernie LaPine, Chaplin of the Westport Fire District said. “When you drove into it had something that Westport doesn’t have, it had a blinking light at the intersection.”
LaPine said in 1957, 24 department members got together and formed the Wadhams Fire Department. The members built the department that stands in Wadhams today.
For all the 55 years the department has been operating, Jerdo has either served at the chief or first assistant fire chief since the department began.
“Does he look 84-years-old? Hell no, he doesn’t act it either,” LaPine said. “Rob thank you for being an intricate part of our community. We want to thank you for your loyalty, you dedication, and you devotion and for gods sakes give us many many many more years in the fire department.”
Westport Fire Chief James Westover said Jerdo was and still is a great example and teacher for what it is to be a fireman. Westover said when he first joined the Westport Department, then Fire Chief Franky Spooner said to him follow Jerdo.
“If your at a fire Mr. Westover and I’m not there, he said listen to Robby Jerdo cause he can teach you and tell you a lot. So I did,” Westover said. “All you younger guys out there, if you want to learn anything just ask this gentleman, he’s ripe full of information and he can teach you a lot for the younger fireman.”
Jerdo said over the years, he was always keeping busy, working as a machine operator for the rail road, coming home to play ball with his three daughters and the department.