"I can confidently say that it is your support as a department that has gotten me to this point in my career,” said Warwick Fire Department Chief Edmund Armstrong during the promotional ceremony that was held at City Hall Tuesday evening. “I am proud of our department’s accomplishments and look forward to the challenges ahead.”
While he’s been serving as chief since Tropical Storm Irene rocked Rhode Island last year, Armstrong was officially announced as chief at the event. For Mayor Scott Avedisian, the way Armstrong handled the storm showed him Armstrong was the right man for the job.
“With the chaos swirling, it became apparent to me that Ed Armstrong was going to be a good leader,” he said.
Armstrong’s wife and daughter, Kathleen and Kaitlin, respectively, attended the celebration. In an interview, Kathleen expressed her excitement for her husband of 22 years.
“We’re thrilled for him,” she said. “It’s something he’s been hoping to get ever since he became a firefighter and he’s put in a lot of work to get it.”
In addition to Armstrong, Rev. Peter Mongeon, the department’s chaplain, was promoted as an honorary deputy chief, while 11 other firefighters were also honored with promotions.
Firefighter promotions included Bruce C. Cooley and Michael K. Moan, who were sworn in as assistant chief, and superintendent of fire alarm, respectively.
Also, John T. Hornby was sworn in as battalion chief, while James F. Maxfield and Edward V. Hannon were promoted to the rank of captain, and Christopher J. LeClair, John W. Halloran, Michael P. Mernick, Barry J. LaFleur, and Jason Fury were sworn in as lieutenants. James Salisbury took the oath of rescue lieutenant.
Retirement recognitions were issued to former Chief Kevin M. Sullivan; Superintendent of Fire Alarm Bruce E. Andrews; Captain Robert Mancini Jr.; Lieutenant Gerald Oliveira; Lieutenant Gregory P. Mayer; Firefighter Kevin F. Fraser Jr.; and Firefighter Wesley Noble.
In support of the promotions and retirements, council members also were in attendance. They included Council President Bruce Place; Ward 1 Councilman Steven Colantuono; Ward 4 Councilman Joseph Solomon; Ward 5 Councilman John DelGiudice; Ward 6 Councilwoman Donna Travis; Ward 7 Councilman Charles “C.J.” Donovan; and Ward 8 Councilman Ray Gallucci.
Also, members of the Board of Public Safety were there, such as Chairwoman Leslie Baxter Walaska and Clerk Tom McGovern.
The program included an honor guard processional, greetings from Battalion Chief Francis Colantonio Jr., an invocation from Monsignor John C. Halloran, the singing of the national anthem by Lt. John W. Halloran, greetings from the mayor and a benediction by Rev. Mongeon.
Also, in a separate ceremony that was held last night for the Warwick Police Department at City Hall, Detective John McAniff was promoted to Sergeant and Officer Joseph Petrarca was elevated to detective.