Gouldsboro firefighters’ legacy safeguarded

GOULDSBORO — When he joined the Fire Department in 1998, Gouldsboro Fire Chief Tate McLean recalls it was then captain Adin Reed III who showed him the ropes.

“He was old-school, rough-around-the-edges, didn’t powder-coat anything, but he would give you the shirt off his back to help you out,” the chief recalled of his first captain, who died last Saturday, Feb. 5, at home.

Retired from fighting fires since 2005, Reed had served as a volunteer firefighter for 30 years in the Gouldsboro Fire Department and as assistant fire chief for a decade. He remained involved and helped out however he could.

“That older generation did. They stayed involved and active in everything,” McLean said Tuesday.

In recognition of his lengthy service, the Gouldsboro Fire Department’s Station No. 3 on Route 1 was named after Reed five years ago. A weathered wooden sign bears the Adin Reed Memorial Station’s name. The same honor was bestowed on former Gouldsboro Fire Chief Alden Tracy Jr. The department’s Station No. 1 in Prospect Harbor is named after him. Similarly saluted for his service fighting fires was the late Joseph Stanley, for whom South Gouldsboro’s Station No. 2 is dedicated.

The three stations’ elaborate wooden signs, though, have taken a beating from the elements. To preserve the long-serving firefighters’ legacy, the signs will be replaced this coming spring. The new ones will take the form of polished black granite stones bearing Reed, Tracy and Stanley’s names in gold letters as well as the Maltese cross. The latter is the symbol of fire service worldwide. The pieces, which will be produced by Wieninger Monumental Works in Milbridge, should endure far longer in coming years.

Since joining the Gouldsboro department 23 years ago, McLean had the privilege of fighting fires alongside Reed, Stanley and Tracy. The chief says each contributed different skills to the work. He notes Stanley previously had worked as a state fire service training instructor and he “became a big part of the training program in Gouldsboro Fire.”

In 2015, McLean became fire chief for both the Gouldsboro and Winter Harbor fire departments. Since then, he has counted on invaluable assistance from former Gouldsboro Fire Chief Alden Tracy Jr., whose continuing service spans nearly 60 years. Tracy started volunteering at age 16 and served as chief for 22 years.

McLean says Tracy keeps track of the department’s 12 vehicles scattered between three stations.

“He is like my chief engineer. He oversees everything having to do with our fire apparatus and all maintenance issues,” the chief said. “That is priceless.”

At their Feb. 3 meeting, selectmen approved McLean’s concept and plan to replace the stations’ deteriorating signs in a manner befitting the former firefighters’ service to the town.

Letitia Baldwin

Arts Editor at The Ellsworth American
In addition to editing the Arts & Leisure section, Letitia edits special sections including Out & About, Overview, Health Quarterly, Your Maine Home, House & Garden and Get Ready for Winter. She comes from Chicago, Ill, but has deep family ties to the Cranberry Isles. [email protected]

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