“This has nothing to do with me,” said Peter Lamb only moments after he was sworn in as Johnston’s new Fire Chief. “This has everything to do about the great men and women of this Johnston Fire Department.”
People who were invited to speak at Saturday morning’s pomp and circumstance-filled ceremony, which attracted a standing room only crowd inside the Johnston Municipal Court House, would tell you that that was not in any way a public relations statement.
John Cagno, a retired Battalion Chief from the North Providence Fire Department who hails from Johnston, reiterated that “Peter Lamb is a leader who’s all about selfless service. We all have the utmost respect for him and wish him well in his new capacity.”
Likewise, James Puleo, a long-time friend of Lambs who serves as Deputy Chief of the Mansfield, MA Fire Department echoed those sentiments after he was introduced by Mayor Joseph Polisena who doubled as emcee for Saturday’s special swearing in ceremony.
“Chief Lamb will do an excellent job in Johnston,” Puleo predicted. “Peter Lamb is – and always has been – about selfless service. He’s also known for the kindness and being conscious and shows tremendous respect for his fellow men and women. He’s also been a friend.”
During his post swearing in remarks, Lamb said, “I couldn’t be where I am today with all you people who have crossed my path at one time or another. Each one of you rubbed off on me in many ways.”
Lamb also issued a heartfelt thank you to his long-time friend and thanked Polisena for “having the confidence in me to name me your new fire chief. And for that, I’m honored.”
Polisena, who was once a member of the JFD Rescue, added, “As I have said in the past I have known Peter for over 43 years when he started his career as a fire fighter. Back then I knew he would accomplish great things and I’m honored and proud to swear in my friend Peter Lamb as our new fire chief.”
The mayor, who pumped some good-natured ribbing into Saturday’s ceremony, went on: “Let me say that 43 year ago I would never have thought I would be standing her this morning as the Mayor to a town I love swearing in my good and long-time friend as the town’s first chief.”
The Mayor also emphasized that “Peter Lamb will be taking over a fire department in which the men and women are the best of the best. He is also taking over a fire department that has the most highly-trained firefighters in New England. Also, because of Chief [Tim] McLaughlin’s hard work, dedication and constant persistence is taking over a department with the newest equipment.”
Lamb replaces McLaughlin, the JFD’s chief for the past seven years, who will begin a new career this Monday as the Rhode Island State Fire Marshal, a position he was nominated for by Gov. Gina Raimondo.
Those who attended the ceremony Saturday also learned that Lamb is well-known throughout the country for his keen knowledge and training of firefighters and that he’s steeped in the all-important area of grant writing.
Gerard Tellier, a retired Battalion Chief with the West Warwick Fire Department, was afforded the honor of pinning the Chief’s badge on Lamb, his long-time friend and fellow firefighter.
Rev. Josh Barrow, the priest at Lamb’s parish – Our Lady of Mercy Church in East Greenwich – delivered the Invocation while Rev. Chris Abhulime of Kings Tabernacle Church in Johnston gave the Benediction.