By Sterling McGinn
Over 50 friends, family members and members of the community gathered in the newly renamed Peter Rahilly Fire Station #1 in Newberry for its official dedication ceremony, which took place on Wednesday, October 4 at 6 p.m.
The Newberry Village Council voted at their June regular meeting to allow the Newberry Fire Department to rename their headquarters after Rahilly, who is the longest serving firefighter in Newberry history.
Though the announcement was made publicly on July 4 of this year, a permanent plaque was unveiled at the ceremony, where Rahilly received a framed letter from Governor Gretchen Whitmer, and a framed proclamation from the Village of Newberry.
Rahilly joined the department in 1975 and has served for 48 years.
“I have served under six chiefs, and I knew them all well,” he said. “This is one of the greatest groups I have ever worked with.”
One of the most significant aspects of the program was the number of retired Newberry Fire Department personnel in attendance. It was noted that it was probably the largest number of retirees together at one time in many years. Approximately 15 retirees were there, including former chiefs Dale Immel and Phil Nelson.
Village President Catherine Freese, fire department Secretary Tony Immel and current Fire Chief John Wendt also gave testimonials on Rahilly’s dedication and commitment to the department and community.
“Thank you for showing each and every firefighter exactly what a commitment is,” Chief John Wendt said. “It is loyalty, dedication, honor, participation and the ability to put everyone and everything above yourself.”I live on Round Lake, and at 3 o’clock in the morning headed to a call, there is always a set of hazards in front of me and that is Peter Rahilly,” said Tony Immel.
Village President Catherine Freese also read the proclamation from the village council.
“Peter Rahilly has been an integral part and partner with current and past Newberry Fire Department personnel and has provided great leadership and remodeling,” the proclamation reads. “And whereas Peter Rahilly is loved and appreciated by an overwhelming majority of Newberry citizens and is always there to assist in any way.”